Attacks cost Selfridges £500,000 in lost sales

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The Independent Online

Selfridges, the department store group, said yesterday that the terrorist attacks in America last week had cost it £500,000 in lost sales. The retailer said its flagship store on London's Oxford Street had seen sales fall by about 7 per cent as shoppers stayed away. Before that, sales in the five weeks to 8 September were 6 per cent ahead of the same period last year. Trading has bounced back this week with sales so far up 5 per cent.

Peter Williams, the finance director, said: "This is a pattern we've seen before with things like the Gulf War and IRA attacks. You get an immediate shock but in the weeks that follow people try to return to normality." He said 20 per cent of sales on Oxford Street came from tourists with 4 per cent from Americans.

The comments came as Selfridges reported a 37 per cent increase in pre-exceptional profits to £16.7m in the six months to 4 August. "In normal circumstances these results would give us confidence as we approach the crucial Christmas period. The tragic events of last week make it more difficult than usual to predict the outcome for the second-half," the company said.

Profits from the Oxford Street branch rose by 6.3 per cent to £28.9m. Profits trebled at the Trafford Centre store in Manchester to £2.2m.The shares fell 14p to 276.5p.

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