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Retail round up - The Tuesday papers

Lowes suffers as US shelves DIY projects, Sony may cut PS3 price to stimulate sales, Lego gets profits boost from nostalgia and Star Wars,Christmas comes early to the high street, It's time to make do and mend for weddings, Rain dampens high street sales in London...

GENERAL MERCHANDISE

Retail round up - The Tuesday papers

Lowes suffers as US shelves DIY projects, Sony may cut PS3 price to stimulate sales, Lego gets profits boost from nostalgia and Star Wars,Christmas comes early to the high street, It's time to make do and mend for weddings, Rain dampens high street sales in London...

The Daily Telegraph
Lowes, the second largest DIY chain in the US after Home Depot, made a profit of $759m (£464m) in the three months to the end of July, against $953m in the same period a year ago. Total sales fell 4.6pc to $13.84bn, while like-for-like sales over the period fell by 9.5pc. Full article here.

If the blogosphere is to be believed, Sony, the electronics behemoth, will today announce that it will slash the price of its popular PS3 games console. Other corners of the internet suggest that Sony could this afternoon unveil a smaller version of the console called PS3 Slim. Whether the announcement contains both, one, neither or an amalgam of the rumours, it will affect the course of the gaming industry for months to come. Full article here.

Lego, the Danish family-owned toymaker, said the recession has led to nostalgia for classic toys and that its products based on the Star Wars films have boosted profits. Lego's first-half profits rose from £60m to £99.5m pre-tax, on net sales 23pc higher at £469m. Lego said its UK sales rose 20pc during the period, despite a declining toy market as parents turned to the classic brand in the recession.Famed for its brightly-coloured building blocks, the group improved its share of the UK market and said it is now Britain's third largest toy manufacturer. Full article here.

Shops including Selfridges, Harrods and Fortnum & Mason are all selling Christmas goods as shops hope early festive season spending will lift the high street gloom. Seasonal goods will also go on sale at Debenhams by the end of the month in a trend which began last month in the US, when Toys R Us and leading department store, Sears, starting selling Christmas products.The theory is hard-pressed shoppers may be willing to spend more spread over a longer period that they might otherwise do.And at Selfridges' Christmas shop, which opened on 8 August this year, sales rose by 43 per cent in its first week compared with last year. Full article here.

The Times
Figures by Datamonitor show that 41 per cent of all grocery sales at the end of July were own-label items.Packaged in cheap yellow or striped plastic, supermarket own-label groceries used to be avoided at all costs by the affluent shopper.Yet as recession continues and the image of private-label products changes, these goods are gaining market share from their branded counterparts. Figures provided to The Times by Datamonitor show that 41 per cent of all grocery sales at the end of July were own-label, up from 38.2 per cent in 2008.Own-label goods are 22 per cent cheaper than brands on average, according to Datamonitor, so it is not surprising that cash-strapped consumers would buy them in a recession.Full article here.

Late last year, June Allnut set up a “sew and recycle” class in Southampton to show women how to breathe new life into those unloved items languishing at the back of the wardrobe.She was deluged by the response. What started out as a monthly class is now a full-time job for her and her daughter.Ms Allnut had unwittingly tapped into a resurgent trend for sewing and embroidery brought about by the recession and, fashion-watchers say, a move away from disposable fashion.Tesco reported last week that sales of sewing machines were up threefold compared with a year ago, while at Argos sales were 30 per cent higher than last year, which itself was well above 2007. Full article here.

High street sales in London rose modestly in July as the wet weather deterred shoppers and stores cut prices significantly, figures show.The value of like-for-like sales rose by 2.2 per cent last month, the second-lowest rate of annual growth recorded since January, when sales jumped by 6.5 per cent, according to the British Retail Consortium (BRC).Yet the rise in sales at stores in Central London outstripped the 1.8 per cent rise in sales across the whole of the UK.“London sales still outperformed the rest of the UK, though by the narrowest margin in nine months,” Stephen Robertson, director-general of the BRC, said. The BRC said that sales had been boosted by overseas visitors attracted by the weakness of the pound. Full article here.

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