Retailers' shares take battering

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The Independent Online

Shares were down in many leading retailers today as firms released their Christmas trading figures.

Shares were down in many leading retailers today as firms released their Christmas trading figures.

Next blamed poor Christmas sales for its 12 percent share fall.

Though the firm saw overall growth of six percent since August, it suffered disappointing December sales.

In a statement, the group said: "Whilst our sales in the run up to Christmas were good, they were below our expectations."

And Marks & Spencer, Peacocks, Kingfisher, Debenhams, Great Universal Stores and Matalan also took a battering on the Stock Exchange.

Great Universal Stores was the largest faller in the FTSE-100, off 14 percent despite publishing an upbeat Christmas trading statement for its Argos stores.

Kingfisher, the Woolworths-to-Comet group also saw its shares affected, off 31p at 485p.

The slide impacted on rival Marks & Spencer, which was down 7 percent.

The discount retailers were also in troubled water, with Matalan off a massive 38 percent.

Matalan said its Christmas sales had jumped ahead, but margins for the 19 weeks since the half year were slightly lower.

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