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Retail round up - The weekend papers

Disposable income 'set to fall',One in four women size 18 and above, research shows, Ocado set to build £200m distribution centre, Travel operators brace for the worst, Special Bond: Retailers spend £100m on stores,Signs of caution as US retail sales rise...

GENERAL MERCHANDISE

Retail round up - The weekend papers

The Telegraph

Household disposable incomes will fall in the run-up to Christmas as income growth fails to match inflation.Households' average available weekly cash – after essential goods such as bills and food have been accounted for – will be £171 in September, a 4pc decline on last year, according to the Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR). It will be £170 in October, £171 in November and £172 in December. The last time the figure hit £172 was in the final month of 2008. "We see things as pretty tough for the consumer. We are looking at really weak real income growth, and we expect that to continue in 2011," said Charles Davis, managing economist at CEBR, which carried out the research for Asda, the supermarket. The latter has tracked household incomes through CEBR on a monthly basis since January 2008. Full article.

A quarter of women are now size 18 or above, according to research that highlights the scale of Britain's obesity crisis.The market for plus-size clothing has grown by almost 50 per cent to £3.8 billion in the past five years, according to the figures, with around 6.2 million women falling into the category.Larger-size menswear has also grown steadily by 6% to £1.9 billion between 2005 and 2010, according to data analysts Mintel. Full article.

Ocado, the online retailer, is close to agreeing a deal to build a new £200m distribution centre – which will allow it to expand across central and northern England.Property agents expect Ocado to agree the acquisition of a 35-acre site near Tamworth, in Staffordshire, within days. The site – which is on the Birch Coppice Business Park – is expected to be sold for around £16.5m.Ocado has already submitted planning permission for a 350,000sq ft warehouse facility that will be capable of delivering between 180,000 and 200,000 orders a week. Full article.

The Observer
Last week, another British tour operator – Sun4U – collapsed and the industry's two biggest firms, Thomas Cook and Tui, warned of an alarming dip in trade. The annual Anglo-German race to be first to the coveted Mediterranean sun lounger with the beach towel looks set to be resoundingly won by Teutonic tourists this year, as it seems growing numbers of hard-pressed British holidaymakers are forgoing their annual package holiday. Almost one in three Britons who took a package break in the sun three years ago are thought not to be doing so this summer, according to leading figures in the tourism industry. Full article.

The Independent.
MaxMara and Louis Vuitton Moët Hennessy are each buying a store on London's Bond Street, as luxury retailers snap up property on the exclusive shopping street.Unity Real Estate Properties, an arm of MaxMara, is to pay £53m to buy 13 to 15 Old Bond Street from German food manufacturer Dr Oetker. LVMH has agreed to buy 160 New Bond Street from Irish investors Ray and Eileen Monahan for £48.5m, gazumping Italian coffee-maker De Longhi.The group has long wanted to own a Bond Street property and offered more money to bag the store, which is occupied by Christian Dior, an LVMH brand that is fronted by Oscar-winning actress Charlize Theron (right). Analysts say retailers want to own stores to help fix costs and minimise rents. CB Richard Ellis advised Unity but declined to comment.

US retail sales reversed course and booked a positive performance last month, but underlying data continued to paint a lacklustre picture of consumer spending in the world's largest economy.Sales were up 0.4 per cent over July, compared with a revised 0.3 per cent drop over June, according to the US Commerce Department. Though firm, last month's figures failed to meet market hopes of a 0.5 per cent gain over July. More worryingly, the positive performance was based on strong sales of cars and motor fuel. Auto sales were up 0.2 per cent, while fuel sales, which sometimes tend to firm up on the back of price rises rather than in response to a rise in demand, were 2.3 per cent higher over the month. Without the boost from car and fuel receipts, retail sales would actually have been down 0.1 per cent last month, suggesting that consumer spending remains subdued.

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