High street worries grow as sales slump at John Lewis
Retailing hit as consumer slowdown gathers pace
Saturday 25 October 2008
The John Lewis department store chain shed further light on the deepening consumer slowdown yesterday, when it posted dire weekly sales.
The company said that sales tumbled by 7.6 per cent to £48.2m for the week to 18 October, as it became the latest retailer this week to send a distress signal from the high street.
Its sales put down an ominous marker for what is expected to be one of the worst Christmas trading periods for about 30 years and came on the same day that official figures confirmed that the UK was hurtling towards a recession. UK gross domestic product fell by 0.5 per cent in the three months to the end of September – the first quarter of negative growth in 16 years.
Only John Lewis's Aberdeen store, which was up 7.3 per cent, was in positive territory among stores open for more than a year. All its other department stores posted tumbling, sales with Peterborough down 25 per cent, High Wycombe 22 per cent and Southampton 20 per cent, although its northern branches performed better. The school half-term in many areas of the country fell in different weeks from last year which made a direct annual comparisons difficult, said Dan Knowles, John Lewis's director of selling operations.
He said: "The economic climate and consequent customer caution in spending led to a disappointing week." Mr Knowles added that sales of home assortment products "found the going tough, as has been the trend so far this year". However, Mr Knowles said that sales of womenswear, particularly shoes, had been robust and men's accessories held up.
Howard Archer, the chief UK and European economist at Global Insight, said: "There is no getting away from the fact that this is a very disappointing and worrying performance that bodes ill for the retail sector in general. The financial crisis and heightened fears over the economy and jobs are clearly heightening the already serious pressures weighing down on consumers."
Tarlok Teji, a partner in Deloitte UK's retail practice, said uncertainty over the economy was having the biggest impact on consumers' desire to spend. He said: "There is so much uncertainty which has been created by the financial sector turmoil that consumers just need confidence and I think another big cut in interest rates will go some way to helping the consumer."
On Thursday, DSGi, which owns the Currys and PC World retail chains, posted total underlying sales down 7 per cent. On the same day, Sports Direct, which is controlled by Mike Ashley, said it continued to battle the "hardest trading conditions in its history".
The administrator for the furnishing chain Rosebys, which hit the buffers last month, cut a further 144 jobs this week after more stores were closed. KPMG said it shut a further 24 of the group's outlets, bringing the total so far to 97. However, Howard Smith, a joint administrator at KPMG, said: "Discussions regarding a going concern sale are proceeding satisfactorily and the majority of outlets, 183, are still trading."
- 1 Exclusive: Abusers using spyware apps to monitor partners reaches 'epidemic proportions'
- 2 Margaret Thatcher 'expressed fears of Asian rising' at Anglo-Irish summit in 1984
- 3 Sussex couple die in suspected Christmas Day 'suicide pact'
- 4 The 'Black Museum': After 150 years, public set to see exhibits from police’s grisly crime museum
- 5 The Unluckiest People of the Year 2014 (and one very unlucky giraffe)
Exclusive: Abusers using spyware apps to monitor partners reaches 'epidemic proportions'
UK weather: Warning for more snow and ice as freezing temperatures and gales hit Britain
UK weather: Travel chaos continues as King's Cross train delays add to snow on roads
The Unluckiest People of the Year 2014 (and one very unlucky giraffe)
North Korea calls Barack Obama 'a monkey' in latest attack as 'The Interview' row festers
British actor Idris Elba cannot star as James Bond because he is black, says shock jock Rush Limbaugh
Germany anti-Islam protests: 17,000 march on Dresden against 'Islamification of the West'
Ukip member gets into Christmas spirit with Union Flag plea to Santa 'for our country back'
Immigrants make UK racist, says Ukip councillor Trevor Shonk
BBC director Danny Cohen: Rising UK antisemitism makes me feel more uncomfortable than ever
Katie Hopkins speaks out on childhood obesity: 'Parents of fat children should be prosecuted for child cruelty'
iJobs Money & Business
Not specified: Selby Jennings: VP/SVP Credit Quant Top tier investment bank i...
Not specified: Selby Jennings: Quantitative Research | Global Equity | New Yor...
Not specified: Selby Jennings: SVP Model Validation This top tiered investment...
Highly Competitive: Selby Jennings: Our client, a leading European Oil trading...