Retail shares dive on Christmas trading reports

SHARES IN the retail sector took a pounding yesterday after a series of gloomy Christmas trading statements underscored the tough conditions on the high street.

Boots Company was among the major fallers, with shares tumbling 60.5p to 938p after the company said sales in high street stores had been cannibalised by new out-of-town outlets. Like-for-like sales at Boots were just 1.5 per cent higher in the three months to December. Sales of gifts were particularly disappointing.

Shares in Storehouse, which owns the retail chains BhS and Mothercare, also slipped, closing down 9.5p at 112.5p. Group sales for the 12 weeks to 2 January were down 2.4 per cent, although the company recorded a slight improvement in gross margins.

BhS's share of womens and menswear grew, but at Mothercare the picture was bleaker, with clothing sales hit by competition in the childrenswear market. Game, the fast expanding computer games retailer, saw its shares slump 63p to 102.5p yesterday after it reported a surprise 3.9 per cent drop in sales in the Christmas and New Year period. It also warned that delays in its store opening programme would hit profits for the full year.

Shares in Rosebys, the furniture retailer, closed marginally lower after it said like-for-like sales dropped 4.1 per cent over the Christmas period.

There was better news for GUS, owner of Argos, which saw shares rise from 581p to 607p following a stronger-than-expected Christmas trading statement.

According to GUS, trade picked up in December, with customers rushing to buy last-minute Christmas presents.

Analysts said consumer confidence may have been buoyed by a series of UK interest rate cuts, a view echoed in the latest survey by Business Strategies, the consultancy. The survey found that most households believed they would be better off in 1999.

House of Fraser, the department stores group, saw its shares rise 4p to 57.5p after it reported underlying Christmas sales growth of 0.2 per cent. Tight stock control helped the group improve profit margins.

Meanwhile, shares in Booker, the struggling cash-and-carry group, edged 2.5 p higher to 54 pence.

Booker announced a 3 per cent rise in underlying Christmas sales, the sale of its catering unit Foodservice and the appointment of a new finance director.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Sport
England's women celebrate after their 3rd place play-off win against Germany
Women's World CupFara Williams converts penalty to secure victory and bronze medals
Arts and Entertainment
Ricardo by Edward Sutcliffe, 2014
artPortraits of LA cricketers from notorious suburb go on display
News
newsHillary Clinton comments on viral Humans of New York photo of gay teenager
Arts and Entertainment
The gang rape scene in the Royal Opera’s production of Gioachino Rossini’s Guillaume Tell has caused huge controversy
music
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
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

Recruitment Genius: Sales Assistant / Buyer

£15000 - £17000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company offers a range of ...

Recruitment Genius: Customer Service Advisor

£15000 - £16000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Customer Service Advisors are r...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £45K: SThree: SThree were established in 1986....

Recruitment Genius: Compliance Manager

£40000 - £60000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Compliance Manager is require...

Day In a Page

The Greek referendum exposes a gaping hole at the heart of the European Union – its distinct lack of any genuine popular legitimacy

Gaping hole at the heart of the European Union

Treatment of Greece has shown up a lack of genuine legitimacy
Number of young homeless in Britain 'more than three times the official figures'

'Everything changed when I went to the hostel'

Number of young homeless people in Britain is 'more than three times the official figures'
Compton Cricket Club

Compton Cricket Club

Portraits of LA cricketers from notorious suburb to be displayed in London
London now the global money-laundering centre for the drug trade, says crime expert

Wlecome to London, drug money-laundering centre for the world

'Mexico is its heart and London is its head'
The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court that helps a winner keep on winning

The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court

It helps a winner keep on winning
Is this the future of flying: battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks?

Is this the future of flying?

Battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks
Isis are barbarians – but the Caliphate is a dream at the heart of all Muslim traditions

Isis are barbarians

but the Caliphate is an ancient Muslim ideal
The Brink's-Mat curse strikes again: three tons of stolen gold that brought only grief

Curse of Brink's Mat strikes again

Death of John 'Goldfinger' Palmer the latest killing related to 1983 heist
Greece debt crisis: 'The ministers talk to us about miracles' – why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum

'The ministers talk to us about miracles'

Why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum
Call of the wild: How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate

Call of the wild

How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate
Greece debt crisis: What happened to democracy when it’s a case of 'Vote Yes or else'?

'The economic collapse has happened. What is at risk now is democracy...'

If it doesn’t work in Europe, how is it supposed to work in India or the Middle East, asks Robert Fisk
The science of swearing: What lies behind the use of four-letter words?

The science of swearing

What lies behind the use of four-letter words?
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won't have him back

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won’t have him back
Africa on the menu: Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the continent

Africa on the menu

Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the hot new continent
Donna Karan is stepping down after 30 years - so who will fill the DKNY creator's boots?

Who will fill Donna Karan's boots?

The designer is stepping down as Chief Designer of DKNY after 30 years. Alexander Fury looks back at the career of 'America's Chanel'