Consumers have put shopping on hold as sunshine and the World Cup play havoc with staff attendance and the retail economy with fashion, DIY and homewares particularly hard hit.
A combination of the sunshine and the football gave High Street stores their worst week of the year last week. John Lewes estimates that the last three Saturdays have been as much as 33% down on 2005.
It seems that only supermarkets and drinks retailers are bucking the trend as households stock up for summer barbeques and parties around the television. Retail generally is still suffering a downturn with some sectors looking alarmingly weak. Profits at B&Q – the UK’s largest DIY chain – have plunged 70% in the most recent quarter. A situation generally agreed to be linked to lack of confidence in the housing market and rising household bills.
Fashion retailers like Next, Matalan and New Look are also finding trading conditions very tough with the latter showing a 3% decline on sales over the past year. Analysts at Seymour Price estimate that most multiple fashion retailers are now experiencing “double digit” declines in their sales figures this quarter.
However, the World Cup has brought a ray of sunshine to electrical retailers with sales of flat panel TV screens increasing by 200% and many public houses are reporting record trade - as long as they have one of those flat screen TV panels in the bar!
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