Yet more problems for the U.K.’s high street

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After this week’s announcement that HMV Group had called in the administrators, its been a tail of woe from some of the other high street retailers today. Thorntons is down 5.5% to 43p, French Connection is down 4% to 28p and Dixons Retail is down 4% to 26p after either reporting disappointing sales figures or rumours relating to poor sales for the Christmas period. On a slightly different tack, Tesco was also 3.5% easier today after reports of horse meat in some of its economy burgers – not so tasty!

French Connection’s reported that subject to trading for the rest of this month, the retailer expects to report a loss before tax and exceptional items for the year ending January 31st 2013 in the region of £7.5 to £8m. It also said that sales in the 24 weeks to 12 January fell by nearly 3% with the company blaming a late start to January sales. 

In the 14 weeks to January 9th, chocolate retailer, Thorntons said sales at its own stores were down 9%, due to store closures and the impact of one of its major franchisees going into administration. Direct sales also decreased by £0.7m to £4.8m as it was late in setting up its new website and experienced operational issues which had significant impact on sales in the period.

Dixons was hit after fears that a fire sale at Comet following its administration tempted cost conscious comsumers away from its stores. Sales figures are due later in the week so for now the fall is just rumours.

Things are looking pretty bleak out there except for the UK’s retailer, with a few exceptions like the John Lewis group. HMV will not be the last to fail in 2013 based on what other retailers are reporting in the early part of the the year with the pressure from online retailers unrelenting.

Contrarian Investor UK


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