Retail fears persist despite boom

 

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.

PA

News
people
Arts and Entertainment
'New Tricks' star Dennis Waterman is departing from the show after he completes filming on two more episodes
tvOnly remaining original cast-member to leave crime series
Sport
Frank Lampard and his non-celebration
premier leagueManchester City vs Chelsea match report from the Etihad Stadium
Sport
premier league
PROMOTED VIDEO
Sport
Mario Balotelli celebrates his first Liverpool goal
premier leagueLiverpool striker expressed his opinion about the 5-3 thriller with Leicester - then this happened
News
people'I hated him during those times'
News
Britain's shadow chancellor Ed Balls (L) challenges reporter Rob Merrick for the ball during the Labour Party versus the media soccer match,
peopleReporter left bleeding after tackle from shadow Chancellor in annual political football match
Arts and Entertainment
Female fans want more explicit male sex in Game of Thrones, George R R Martin says
tvSpoiler warning: Star of George RR Martin's hit series says viewers have 'not seen the last' of him/her
News
i100
News
Dame Vivienne Westwood has been raging pretty much all of her life
peopleMemoir extracts show iconic designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Life and Style
fashionAlexander Fury's Spring/Summer 2015 London Fashion Week roundup
Arts and Entertainment
Lauryn Hill performing at the O2 Brixton Academy last night
musicSinger was more than 90 minutes late on stage in Brixton show
News
i100
News
Rumer was diagnosed with bipolarity, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder: 'I was convinced it was a misdiagnosis'
peopleHer debut album caused her post-traumatic stress - how will she cope as she releases her third record?
News
people''Women's rights is too often synonymous with man-hating'
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Senior BA - Motor and Home Insurance

£400 - £450 Per Day: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: **URGENT CONTRACT ROLE**...

Market Risk & Control Manager

Up to £100k or £450p/d: Saxton Leigh: My client is a leading commodities tradi...

SQL Developer - Watford/NW London - £320 - £330 p/d - 6 months

£320 - £330 per day: Ashdown Group: The Ashdown Group have been engaged by a l...

Head of Audit

To £75,000 + Pension + Benefits + Bonus: Saxton Leigh: My client is looking f...

Day In a Page

Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam