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Clintons 'performing better than expected' Tuesday, 7th May 2013
Photo credit: Clintons
Dominique Schurman, chief executive of Clintons, has inferred a boost in sales ahead of its full year report on Thursday.
In an interview with The Times on Monday, Schurman revealed the chain’s new image – which includes a name change from Clinton Cards to Clintons, and the new red signage, replacing the old orange-and-white – had contributed to a 10-15 per cent increase in sales in revamped stores.
Last year, Clinton Cards fell into administration after its biggest supplier, American Greetings, called in a USD 35 million loan.
After a brief period in administration, American Greetings bought Clinton Cards for USD 37 million, closing down approximately half of their 800 stores.
Schurman, who was brought in to oversee the rebranding of the company, was cited on Monday as saying the high street chain was performing better than expected.
She also revealed that Clintons are planning to develop an online personalisation service for customers who want to customise their own cards.
American Greetings, which is soon to be privatised, has seen a decline in profits over the past decade as a result of stiff online competition. This year, the Ohio-based company have seen earnings fall due to writing off debt accumulated by Clintons.
Relentless spring for retailers as BRC finds retail prices rise at slowest rate in over three years Tuesday, 7th May 2013
Photo credit: My Retail Media
The latest figures released by the British Retail Consortium and Nielsen find a toxic mix of bad weather, supermarket promotions and long-standing economic pressures led to prices in high street stores rising at their slowest rate in three and a half years.
Food prices fell 0.4 per cent in April, while non-food prices dropped 1.1 per cent compared with March to a rate last seen in November 2009.
"Household finances are still under pressure, but it's clear that isn't coming from the shops," said Helen Dickinson, BRC director-general said in light of the results.
Fashion retailers suffered in April as the wintry weather persisted, meaning shoppers delayed purchasing spring and summer outfits. It was a similar story across the nation’s DIY and gardening stores, where consumers delayed making home improvement purchases until the weather improved.
Meanwhile food prices fell slightly on the last month, although they rose 2.9 per cent on last year, attributed to supermarket promotions and the price wars undertaken by some of the nation’s biggest grocers.
Mike Watkins, head of retailer and business insight at Nielsen, said: "This time last year food prices were on the increase during the washout of early summer 2012.
"Retailers will now be looking to keep prices competitive over the next few weeks to keep whatever momentum there is in sales growth going, and for high street retailers this could require summer discounts to start sooner rather than later."
The sector didn’t fare much better on the Continent, where a tough spring saw retail sales fall for the second month in a row in March. New data from the European Union statistics agency Eurostat found the volume of sales fell 0.1 per cent on the month, after a 0.2 per cent drop in February.
The year-on-year results came in worse than expected, falling 2.4 per cent as fears for the eurozone’s economic recovery persisted. Eurostat reported a fall in spending on clothes and computers, as the 17-nation euro bloc struggles with record rates of unemployment.
John Lewis’ Oxford St flagship sees 18.5% rise in sales Friday, 19th April 2013
Photo credit: John Lewis plc
Proving the stores still have it, John Lewis’ Oxford Street flagship reported an 18.5 per cent rise in sales in the week to 13 April.
While John Lewis’ stellar rate of sales growth slowed slightly to 6.9 per cent including VAT in the seven days to 13 April, it was the group’s bricks-and-mortar stores that led the way for the week, with Oxford Street, Liverpool, Poole and Aberdeen all well into the double digit figures for growth.
“Week eleven proved a solid one to conclude a strong set of Easter comparisons.” Andy Street, John Lewis managing director, said on Friday. “This was especially so when we consider the strength of April trade last year which included the beginning of the Technology surge. Inevitably therefore, the headline sales growth has slowed just a little from the cracking pace we set at the beginning of the year” Street added.
John Lewis on Friday reported the first glimpse of sunshine helped lift its fashion directorate by 7.6 per compared with the same week the year before, while over in the home department big ticket items sold well with a focus on furniture.
Usually the star of the show, John Lewis’ electricals and home technology department last week came up against strong comparisons from the ‘Digital Switchover’ in 2012, but still managed to report a 7.2 per cent rise in sales.
Street said John Lewis’ online performance in April 2012 had “proved hard to beat, but encouragingly the new website continues to bed down, and outstanding mobile trade helped the channel to 5 per cent overall.”
Over at the partnerships’ food operations, Waitrose reported an impressive 24.6 per cent rise in sales excluding petrol on the same period last year. Helen Hyde, personnel director at Waitrose noted “the distorting effect of the fall of Easter and school holidays when compared to last year,” but added that it was still an “impressive trading performance and well above our expectations.”
As the hottest week of the year so far, Waitrose said its customers were looking ahead to summer with warmer weather eating habits, including picnic sales and quick-to-prepare foods so more time could be spent outdoors.
Tesco hit by first annual fall in profit in 20 years Wednesday, 17th April 2013
Photo credit: Tesco PLC
Britain's biggest retailer on Wednesday announced its first fall in annual profit in 20 years, after taking a USD 1.5 billion writeoff on its loss-making Fresh & Easy business in the US.
Shares in Tesco fell 2.8 per cent in early trade as the supermarket giant reported pretax profit of £1.96 billion in the year to 13 February, down 51.5 per cent. A 14.5 per cent fall in underlying full-year profit was said to largely reflect the cost of turning around its domestic market, which Tesco has since begun to invest heavily in following a shock profit warning in January 2012.
Speaking in light of the figures, Tesco chief executive Philip Clarke described the results as "natural consequences of the strategic changes" the retailer began to make in 2012, adding:
"I've been working for Tesco for nearly 40 years and I can tell you this - it already looks, feels and acts like a different and a better business."
Tesco's turnaround plan for Britain signifies a £1 billion investment into brining in more staff, refurbishing stores and rejuvinating its food ranges. Despite the changes already made, the retailer said fourth quarter sales at British stores open over a year, excluding fuel and VAT sales tax, grew by 0.5 per cent, a slowdown from the 1.8 per cent reported in the six weeks to 5 January. Tesco pointed out that this was, however, at the top range of forecasts of 0 to 0.5 per cent and the grocer's strongest quarterly growth in three years.
Kingfisher posts 11.4% fall in profit Tuesday, 26th March 2013
Photo credit: Kingfisher plc
B&Q and Castorama owner Kingfisher posted an 11.4 per cent fall in annual profit on Tuesday, in line with forecasts for the period.
The group, which is Europe’s largest home improvement retailer, said it expects market conditions to remain challenging but is confident of its own prospects after battling a weak economy in Europe and unfavourable foreign exchange rates in the past year.
Kingfisher chief executive Ian Cheshire highlighted the three major problems of currency exchange, poor weather in the UK and a continued downturn in the continent, adding: “In the face of all those three things, I think the business managed to mitigate those as best as it could. Underlying it, I think we’re in good shape going forward… so despite a tough year, I think we’ve emerged from it in reasonable shape.”
The group made an underling pretax profit of £715 million in the year to 2 February, in line with analysts’ forecasts but a marked decline from the £807 million achieved the year before. Group sales fell 2.4 per cent to £10.57 billion as weak consumer confidence led to a like-for-like decline in sales across Britain, France and Poland.
Shares in the group closed at 283 pence on Monday, valuing the business at £6.72 billion.
“Against all expectations” retail sales see strongest growth for three years Tuesday, 5th March 2013
Photo credit: My Retail Media
Total UK retail sales last month grew at the fastest rate in three years, up 4.4 per cent in February compared with the year before.
The latest figures from the British Retail Consortium (BRC) and KPMG’s Retail Sales Monitor found sales values in the UK grew 2.7 per cent on a like-for-like basis from February 2012, with online sales rising an impressive 10.9 per cent over February 2012’s 9.9 per cent growth.
“After the disappointing figures that brought 2012 to a close, it’s reassuring that the sales momentum established during an encouraging January has built not faded.” Helen Dickinson, director general of the BRC said.
“There are certainly highly-welcome signs here of gradual improvement and customers feeling a bit more positive. February saw growth across all parts of retailing, with big-ticket goods and items for the home recovering particularly well, possibly reflecting better conditions in the housing market.”
"Whilst one shouldn’t read too much into one month’s figures, February’s data will provide a much needed fillip to retailers’ confidence levels. Against all expectations, retail sales rose this month to achieve the strongest underlying sales growth for three years.” David McCorquodale, head of retail at KPMG said in light of the somewhat unexpected results.
Online sales proved to be one of the strongest categories for the month, up 10.9 per cent on last year’s steady increase of 9.9 per cent, while food sales suffered against strong comparisons a year before. However it was clothing that delivered a “stand-out performance” for February, reporting its strongest growth in five months, driven by children’s clothing sales and knitwear purchases.
“This month’s Budget gives the Government a great opportunity to act to secure real and lasting revival from what could be no more than a short-lived lift.” Dickinson went to add. “Retail is central to generating the growth and jobs so critical to the UK’s economic recovery but weak consumer confidence is the real and present obstacle.
“Consumers need a Budget that leaves them with more money in their pockets and the confidence to spend it and retailers with the means to invest. I hope the Chancellor seizes the moment.”
Scottish retailers report best sales performance in nearly two years Wednesday, 13th February 2013
Fort Kinniard shopping park. Photo credit: British Land
A 5.2 per cent rise in food sales for January saw Scottish retail sales give their best performance in nearly two years, according to results out this week.
The Scottish Retail Consortium (SRC) found total sales grew by 2.1 per cent in January, with food sales up 5.2 per cent on a year ago.
Although non-food sales fell by 0.7 per cent on the previous January, the overall figure suggested the strongest year-on-year growth in sales since April 2011.
Sales in Scottish produce saw a boost as shoppers celebrated Burns Night, while fruit and vegetables proved popular for January resolutions and detox diets.
Clothing and footwear proved to be the strongest non-food category, with menswear the best performing segment thanks to a boost in demand for boots and formal footwear.
Speaking in light of the results, SRC director Fiona Moriarty said: "After battling consistently tough conditions through most of 2012, this is good news for Scottish retailers.
“The key question now is: is this just a blip or dare we hope it signals the start of a lasting revival for customers and retailers.”
David McCorquodale, KPMG's head of retail, said: "It's not surprising that non-food sales remained sluggish, given that January is traditionally the month where Christmas debts are paid off.
"However, retailers generally will look back on successful seasonal campaigns, be relieved that consumers responded well to promotional activity and be glad that they went into the winter with lower stocks."
It’s thought the results of the KPMG-SRC survey were helped by the inclusion of New Year’s Eve in this year’s January figures, which last year was counted with December’s results.
UK shop price inflation falls to 38 month low for January Wednesday, 6th February 2013
Photo credit: My Retail Media
Shop prices in the UK experienced the slowest-rate of growth in more than three years as post-Christmas sales eased household spending.
The latest results from the British Retail Consortium (BRC) and Nielsen found shop price inflation fell to 0.6 per cent in January from 1.5 per cent in December. The rate is the lowest since November 2009, when the index reached lows of 0.2 per cent.
Food inflation fell 4.0 per cent in January from 4.1 per cent in December, while non-food inflation fell 1.4 per cent after a flat reading for December.
"Overall shop price inflation is at its lowest since November 2009, helping counter much bigger increases in other household costs which are undermining customers' spending power. With consumer confidence creeping up, retailers will be hoping for an increased willingness to buy more than just immediate needs," BRC director general Helen Dickinson said in a statement on Wednesday.
Cheaper clothing and a fall in the prices of electrical goods were largely attributed to the drop, as heavy discounting also helped keep inflation rates down.
"Weak demand for clothing necessitated big price cuts. Clothing prices were down 7.7 percent on the year before, their biggest drop in the six years of this survey. But clothing suffered its worst sales fall since last Easter," Dickinson said.
Speaking in light of the results, Mike Watkins, head of retailer and business insight at Nielsen added: "With the traditional high street January sales being replaced by year-round discounting, it's no surprise to see a continuation of deflation in non-food, particularly in clothing and footwear where half-price reductions have been used to attract shoppers post-Christmas".
January “lifts spirits” for retailers as sales grow 1.9% Tuesday, 5th February 2013
Photo credit: My Retail Media
UK retail sales rose 1.9 per cent on a like-for-like basis from the same period a year before, with total sales up 3.0 per cent, its highest growth since September 2012 and like-for-like sales growth for 13 months.
The latest figures from the British Retail Consortium (BRC) –KPMG Retail Sales Monitor are set to provide some much needed relief to the industry, which traded through heavy snowfall in the last two weeks of January.
“After a fairly subdued December, these results are sure to lift spirits for many” said Helen Dickinson, director general of the BRC.
“Retailers didn’t have high hopes for strong sales at Christmas, but this meant that they prepared well and headed into the New Year with less stock to clear than last year. People were tempted out by offers and promotions but also treated themselves to full-price and premium products early in January, particularly must-have technology items. These factors, coupled with recovering consumer confidence, have added up to a more successful January than we saw last year.”
Speaking in regards to the snowfall, Dickinson went on to state that sales had suffered in the recent cold snap, but that it had been “short-lived and didn’t cancel out the positive showing across the month as a whole.” In fact parts of the industry saw a lift in activity, such as footwear, which experienced a ‘boots boost’ as shoppers prepared for harsher weather conditions, and online supermarket shopping, as customers stocked up on cupboard essentials to see out the wintry conditions.
After another strong performance over the Christmas trading period, the Sales Monitor found online non-food sales settled back in line with the annual average growth, rising 10.2 per cent on last year’s results, following an 11.3 per cent boost. Dickinson suggested the mid-month snow had bought “mixed fortunes” for online retailers, adding: “While online-only retailers appear to have done well out of more people staying in and shopping, some multichannel retailers suggested that concerns about collecting in store may have deterred shoppers for a short while.”
Predictably the snow and colder climate bought a negative impact to footfall, which online buying was unable to offset entirely. With Spring/Summer collections far from the minds of consumers, both women’s and children’s segments experienced a decline, resulting in the worst performance for the clothing category in 14 months, excluding Easter.
After an encouraging performance for the first month of 2013, David McCorquodale, head of retail at KPMG said that January’s sales figures will give retailers “reasons to be cheerful”, with such a strong start to what is expected to be a “tough year for the sector”:
“Many retailers will be pleased with their sales campaigns as 2013 roared into life producing double-digit sales increases in several categories in the first week. Sadly a blanket of snow mid-month slowed the charge as Payday approached.
"While technology advances may have hastened the demise of HMV, Blockbuster and Jessops, many retailers will look back at the last two months with pride after implementing successful seasonal campaigns where they have served the customer well. Sales are only one side of the equation and time will soon reveal the true cost of the promotions and margin squeezes used to drive these sales. However, it is encouraging to see such positive results in what is traditionally a challenging month."
Snowfall drags on January’s retail sales Monday, 4th February 2013
Photo credit: My Retail Media
Retail sales fell 0.41 per cent in January as snowfall wiped out any gains made at the start of the year.
The latest figures from the BDO High Street Sales Tracker found demand for January’s traditional sales period led a boost in sales after Christmas, with the first week of the year experiencing the strongest like-for-like sales figures since January 2010. However, as the snow set in across the UK by mid-January, total like-for-like figures dropped down to 0.41 per cent for the month.
Strategic pricing and discounts within the fashion category meant high demand lines performed well, but as stock began to diminish towards the end of the month, like-for-like figures eventually fell to -1.18 per cent negative growth for the month. Despite being a traditionally strong month for homeware, the category also suffered in January, falling 3.95 per cent.
However the extreme weather conditions provided some relief for retailers, with non-fashion goods proving popular with consumers stocking up on outdoor goods with the much-awaited onset of snow. Non-fashion rose 2.44 per cent for the period, marking a particularly austere January in which shoppers prioritised essential purchases over luxury goods.
The BDO High Street Sales Tracker uses weekly sales changes from more than 60 non-food mid-market retailers across 10,000 individual stores.