The High Street newsagent cum bookshop issued a profit warning yesterday blaming hot weather and competition from supermarkets as the reason for lacklustre performance. Flat sales and reduced margins were predicted in the six months up to the end of August
Certainly the hot weather has caused problems for a variety of retailers with figures for pedestrian flow from Footfall showing a whopping decrease of over 7% on the previous year and this in turn was depressed because of the World Cup. Some analysts are not convinced that weather is the major factor in W.H. Smith’s poor performance.
Like many traditional High Street retailers they are being squeezed by price cutting supermarkets stealing some of their market share in areas such as CDs and best selling books. The World Cup Factor mentioned above also demonstrates how retailers must not only fight for market share within their sector but also fight against other distractions from the leisure industry.
In Brighton many independents suffered declining sales during the summer because people quite simply headed for the beach and the bars. When the warm weather finally broke two days of rain didn’t help to bring people back to the shops. With the summer over and the Christmas trading season to look forward to there is an air of apprehension on the High Street in Brighton.
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