Retail round up - The Monday papers
The number of empty stores in Britain's leading shopping centres has fallen dramatically as prospering retailers look to snap up bargains from under-pressure landlords.Vacancy rates at the UK's top 20 shopping centres has reduced by an average of 25pc since January, according to DTZ, the property agent, adding to optimism that the UK economy is bottoming out.The revelation that empty space is falling follows high street data from the Office for National Statistics last week that retail sales rose 1.2pc in June, four times faster than analysts expected, as consumers were attracted by early summer sales and warm weather.Full article here.
Liberty, the London department store famous for its mock-Tudor building behind Regent Street, will embark on a strategic review in a bid to bring in new investors to fund its future expansion.The retailer will this week appoint Cavendish Corporate Finance and Global Leisure Partners, two mergers and acquisitions specialists, to help it identify new investors or partners.The move could result in majority owner MWB Group Holdings, which owns 68pc of the retailer, having its stake diluted.Full article here.
J Sainsbury will this week put pressure on Argos, John Lewis and Tesco when it starts selling home electronics, bathroom suites, home furnishings and sports equipment from its website.The UK's third-largest supermarket is looking to vastly increase sales of its non-food ranges. Around 4,500 products will go on sale this week, rising to 8,000 products by September.The ranges will be made up of both branded and own-brand items, such as "Different by design" and the newly launched "Tu" range of homewares. The supermarket will also stock products from top brands including Sony, Apple and Le Creuset.Full article here.
Debenhams is sending extra stock to its stores in seaside towns to meet "unprecedented demand" for products by the record number of people holidaying in the UK.A spokesman for the retailer said that an extra five million Britons are planning to take their holidays in the UK this summer. The chain has sent shipments of the most wanted products – including sunhats, flip-flops and fake tan – to its 21 stores in coastal towns. Full article here.
Sales at discount designer outlet villages are booming as Britain’s middle classes look for bargains and Russian and Arab tourists swap Bond Street for mall outlets in the country.While sales elsewhere in the UK stagnate, gross sales at Bicester Village, the designer outlet centre near Oxford, are up 40 per cent on the same time last year, with like-for-like sales, which strip out new stores, up by 25 per cent. At McArthurGlen, the biggest outlet chain in the country, with seven sites, sales rose by 5.6 per cent in the second quarter, compared with the same time a year ago. At Junction One in Northern Ireland, sales rose by 8 per cent. Full article here.
House prices were unchanged in July for the third month running, housing market analyst Hometrack said today, suggesting the slump in the property sector may finally have come to an end.Hometrack’s monthly survey has reported 0 per cent changes to house prices in May, June and July, but the analyst said it had seen some positive signs of an uptick over the past four weeks.The number of new buyers registering with estate agents rose by 2.8 per cent last month, Hometrack said, while the average time on the market for a property before selling fell to nine weeks, from 9.4 weeks in June. Just 3 per cent of postcodes nationwide saw a decline in average prices, it added, while the typical buyer is now achieving a sale price of 91.5 per cent of their asking price. Full article here.
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