The gloom of June’s multiple administrations was compounded in the first week of July.
What’s in store?
John Lewis’s expansion plans continued as it fired the starting gun on a plan to open mid-size department stores, enabling the retailer to make its mark on more cities across the UK.
The gloom of June’s multiple administrations was compounded in the first week of July when Capital Economics forecast that the volume of retail sales was likely to slip 0.5% this year, worse than in the depths of the recession. It pointed out that even in 2009, the worst year of the downturn, volumes still rose 1%.
“We’re looking at the size of the prize and the UK is tiny in the scheme of things”
Also in July, James Daunt, the new boss of Waterstone’s, began his comprehensive review of business, having assumed his role at the end of June when Russian Tycoon Alexander Mamut finally bought the business from HMV for £53m. At the same time, HMV had secured a £220m refinancing lifeline, but the scale of the turnaround needed meant the City was sceptical about the deal.
Carphone Warehouseupdated on its first quarter in July. Tellingly, there was no comment on the performance or future of the fledgling Best Buy business in the UK, which was being reviewed at the time.
An exclusive ICM poll for Retail Week showed that more mature shoppers were starting to feel the recessionary pain and were planning to tighten their purse strings. Shoppers aged between 45 and 64 were coming under particular pressure, faced with children moving back home after university and with elderly parents needing care. But some retailers in the middle market were providing the extra value these consumers were looking for. Among them was Debenhams – which had posted rising like-for-likes in July.
Despite tough UK trade, US fashion giant Forever 21 revealed it was confident of success. It opened its flagship store on Oxford Street, and chief executive Larry Meyer vowed to have a store in ‘every major city, mall and high street’ within five years.
There was good news as business secretary Vince Cable revealed plans to scrap or simplify more than 160 retail regulations.
People in the news
Clinton Cards began the search for a new managing director as founder and chairman Don Lewin, 77, began to put a succession plan in place ahead of his retirement.
- BRC retail sales figures +0.6%