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Thursday, 9 January 2014

Christmas shopping figures disappoints capitalists

Sowed today we hear the Christmas shopping figures in 2013 were very disappointing for a few big names on our high street including the likes of Tesco and Morison’s and Marks and Spencer’s I understand. Year has been mixed signals from the High Street, with Next, John Lewis and House of Fraser performing strongly, but disappointment for Debenhams and Mothercare. Also on Thursday, Tesco reported like-for-like sales down 2.4% in the six weeks to 4 January because of a "weaker grocery market". At the same time, rival Morrisons reported a 5.6% drop in like-for-like sales. Retail analyst Bryan Roberts said the company "should have held its nerve" and not pushed ahead with pre-Christmas sales High Street sales started well before Christmas, something underlined by data from the British Retail Consortium, which reported on Wednesday that shop prices fell by 0.8% in December, the fastest rate in almost seven years. Mr Bolland has reshuffled some key staff in the hope that a new clothing range, heavily promoted with a marketing campaign featuring the likes of Dame Helen Mirren, Tracey Emin and Darcey Bussell, would start delivering results. The executive makeover saw a new head of the GM division, John Dixon, brought over from the successful food section in October 2012, while Belinda Earl, the former Jaeger and Debenhams boss, became style director the month before. The usual hype about massive Xmas sales by retailers both in the US and in the UK turned out to be just that - hype. The shops experienced relatively dismal sales despite internet buying and massive discounts on items. According to ShopperTrak, US retailers posted their lowest holiday sales growth in four years. Sales between Thanksgiving and Christmas rose 2.7%, compared with 3% a year earlier, while the number of people walking into stores declined 14.6%. It was a similar story in the UK. Households continue to suffer falls in real income and so they are not increasing spending much beyond essentials. The misery continues for most.

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