Retail round up - The Weekend papers.
Online retail sales help to weather storm,BDO figures question retail chiefs' claims that snow dented sales,JD Sports chief Peter Cowgill says retail snow woe 'exaggerated',Sainsbury's beat rivals over Christmas,Austerity-hit retailers widen north-south gap,Jimmy Choo steps out into clothes and jewellery,CSC revises takeover bid for The Trafford Centre,Car sales rise in a 'year of recovery',Truckers threaten to blockade the streets as crude heads for $100 a barrel,High street counts £750m cost of a white Christmas...
As December's snow melts to reveal retail winners and losers, insiders predict profit results will be far from the bloodbath expected.Like waking from a particularly bad Christmas hangover, the retail world suddenly looked a little gloomy last week.A blizzard of profits warnings came from the likes of HMV, Mothercare and Clinton Cards. These suggested, some proposed, that far from being a Christmas period where cash-strapped customers still dug deep, a mixture of sub-zero temperatures, regular dumps of snow and fear of austerity ahead pointed towards the most important period in the retail calendar being something of a turkey. Full article here.
The Arctic weather that swept the UK in December barely dented high street sales, raising serious questions over retail chiefs' claims that the snow was to blame for lacklustre performances.Figures to be released on Monday will show that year-on-year sales of everything excluding food dropped by just 0.5pc over the five weeks to January 2.The figures, from accountants BDO, are based on sales from 10,000 high street shops that are part of chains with turnovers of up to £750m. Full article here.
Peter Cowgill, the chief executive of retailer JD Sports Fashion, said that rivals' claims about the impact of snow on their performance had been "exaggerated", as his chain reported a strong increase in Christmas sales.A raft of chains from HMV to Mothercare have blamed post-Christmas profit warnings on the adverse impact that recent Arctic weather had on their sales.However, JD reported a 2.5pc increase in like-for-like sales over the five weeks to January 1. Mr Cowgill said: "It is not for me to comment on other retailers but I think possibly the effects of the snow may have been exaggerated." Full article here.
J Sainsbury outperformed rival supermarkets over the Christmas period, while Asda continued to lag behind the pack, new figures show.According to Nielsen, the data company, Sainsbury's gained half a point of market share over the 12 weeks to December 25, taking its share to 15.4pc. Sales at the chain rose by 8pc year-on-year. Over the crucial final four weeks of the period, sales improved by 10.1pc.Overall, sales at supermarkets rose by 6.9pc year-on-year in December, thanks to a late rush during Christmas week. The first three weeks of December saw lacklustre sales as bad weather disrupted shopping patterns, but the week to December 25 saw a 16pc rise as shoppers caught up.
The north-south retail divide is growing as chains scale back expansion into the north to concentrate on the more affluent and profitable south.Jones Lang LaSalle, a comercial property agent, has just published a report on the retail industry which found that parts of the north will be hit hard. "Job uncertainty combined with the VAT rise and the post-Christmas curb in spending will all have an inevitable negative impact on purchasing power and consumer confidence, particularly in the north of England, resulting in lower retail sales," say the report's authors.Full article here.
Jimmy Choo, the luxury shoe-maker, is to expand into selling clothing as part of its rapid brand expansion as it celebrates 15 years in the business.Tamara Mellon's designer shoe retailer has already branched into bags and luggage, fragrances, eyewear and scarves. But now it is planning to move into men's footwear, jewellery and homewares . Womenswear will follow.Full article here.
Capital Shopping Centres (CSC) has revised the terms of its proposed acquisition for The Trafford Centre, in a move to strengthen its defence against a takeover bid of the UK-based company by the US mall operator Simon Property.But Simon hit back, reaffirming its stance that the takeover price for the shopping centre near Manchester – owned by the billionaire John Whittaker's Peel Group – is still too high.Full article here.
More than two million cars were sold in the UK last year, 1.8 per cent more than in 2009, according to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders.However, the motor industry expects to face a difficult few months because of the "extremely challenging" economic conditions, it added.The SMMT said sales rose by 35,847 in 2010 to 2,030,846, but it was a year of two halves following the end of the car scrappage scheme in March.Full article here.
With the price of fuel spiralling, hauliers already hit by rises in VAT and fuel duty are telling the government they've had enough.The spectre of trucks blockading streets in protest at record fuel prices – on top of student and public-sector worker demonstrations – will be raised tomorrow when the haulage industry unveils a campaign to force government to halt rises in petrol duty.The plans, backed by the Freight Transport Association and others, come amid warnings from the AA that recent tax rises, on top of soaring oil prices, are driving motorists off the road and damaging the wider economy.Full article here.
Mothercare and HMV issue profit warnings – but upmarket department stores are tipped to announce some festive cheer.Marks & Spencer's chief executive, Marc Bolland, is this week expected to tell the City that the big freeze cost the retailer £40m-£50m in lost sales during his first Christmas at the helm.Analysts think the chaos caused by the snow cost the retail sector £750m in full-price sales as shoppers cancelled shopping trips, a scenario that saw five retailers, including HMV and Mothercare, issue profit warnings.Full article here.
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