Retail fears persist despite boom
Tuesday 27 December 2011
The beleaguered retail sector was today set to continue
enjoying a post-Christmas shopping boom but experts warned it may not be
enough to ensure some weaker players survive.
Retail analysts Experian said the number of people visiting shops on Boxing Day was 21.5% higher than a year ago as stores put on unprecedented numbers of discounts to drum up trade.
Shopper footfall was expected to rise further today, it added, as some chains that were not open on Boxing Day, such as department store John Lewis, resumed trading and others launched sales.
But fears persist that some of the biggest names on the high street are in danger of collapsing in coming days.
The sector has suffered a bleak year in which the squeeze in consumer spending was compounded by the rise in VAT to 20% and the warm autumn weather, which hit sales of winter clothing.
As a result, retailers have put on a frenzy of promotions in the run-up to Christmas and many are now dropping prices further.
Industry insiders say that despite reports of encouraging recent trading, some big-name players may not make it through the next few weeks, with many now due to pay their rent bills for the next quarter.
Anita Manan, an analyst at Experian, said: "It's good to see so many people visiting stores and the milder weather has helped.
"With the quarterly rent due, the difficulty is that they are selling a lot of stock at very low prices.
"What remains to be seen is if this quarter's takings are enough to see them through this difficult period to the next quarter."
High street lingerie chain La Senza, which has 146 stores and 18 concessions in the UK, announced last week that it plans to enter administration in coming days.
And Blacks Leisure, which owns 98 Blacks outlets and 208 Millets stores, has fuelled speculation that it would go into administration in a move that would allow rivals to cherry-pick its best assets.
The outdoor clothing group, which employs 3,600 staff, put itself up for sale following dire trading. But it signalled a so-called pre-pack deal was on the cards as it said it did not expect an offer for the group's shares, only for its trade, assets and brands.
However, many stores and shopping centres have reported strong trading in the post-Christmas sales.
Upmarket department store Selfridges said it had enjoyed record sales in the first hour of Boxing Day despite a Tube strike in London.
And queues were yesterday reported to have formed outside several Next stores after the fashion chain opened at 6am and offered all items at half price or less.
Kent's Bluewater shopping centre expects nearly a million visitors this week amid strong demand for as luxury items, such as premium-branded handbags and accessories, young fashion ranges, electricals and other big-ticket items.
- 3 The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
- 4 Phil Neville backtracks on Tomas Rosicky 'I'd smash him' comments from Match of the Day 2
- 5 SAG Awards: Fake applause track interrupts Reese Witherspoon
Rowan Atkinson to sell £10 million McLaren 'supercar' he crashed into a tree and a lamppost
Paris attacks: Do not call Charlie Hebdo killers 'terrorists', BBC says
Asteroid narrowly scrapes past Earth: how to watch the closest space rock for decades as it flies by
UK weather: Snow to fall in the coming week with sub-zero temperatures to last until early February
Saudi preacher who 'raped and tortured' his five -year-old daughter to death is released after paying 'blood money'
Nigel Farage: NHS might have to be replaced by private health insurance
'We would evict Queen from Buckingham Palace and allocate her council house,' say Greens
French court convicts three over homophobic tweets, in case hailed as a 'significant victory' by LGBT rights campaigners
Greece elections: Syriza and EU on collision course after election win for left-wing party
George Galloway condemns 'racist, Islamophobic, hypocritical rag' Charlie Hebdo at freedom of speech rally
British Muslim school children suffering a backlash of abuse following Paris attacks
iJobs Money & Business
£30000 - £32000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: A highly successful, int...
£18000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This rapidly expanding business...
£25 - 28k + Bonus: Guru Careers: An In-house / Internal Recruiter is needed to...
Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A Tax Assistant is required to join a leading ...