Analysts said Carphone looks likely to be demoted at the next quarterly recalculation, scheduled for September 10. As Retail Week went to press, the retailer’s capitalisation placed it below the required level to remain on the index.
Although the situation may change in the interim period, analysts were not optimistic that relegation could be avoided. “It’s in the drop zone,” said one.
The removal of Carphone from the index, unless replaced by another retailer such as Home Retail, would be another blow to hard-pressed quoted general retailers. Their fall from favour on the back of the credit crunch and pressures on consumer spending has resulted in them losing almost 45 per cent of their value year on year.
Credit Suisse analyst Tony Shiret, who has followed the retail sector for more than two decades, believes the number of retailers in the FTSE 100 has never been lower.
At one time, retail accounted for about 10 per cent of the index and store groups such as WHSmith and Kwik Save were members. Today, only seven store groups are present – three of which are the big grocers.
Shiret said factors such as food retail mergers and non-food retailers’ “declining share of national wealth”, along with the increasingly international spread of FTSE 100 companies, had propelled changes to the index. “It’s partly the evolution of -capital markets, partly consolidation and partly the business cycle,” he said.
Some analysts feared that a reduced proportion of retailers in the FTSE 100 would prompt a wider investor flight from the sector.
However, one salesman on a City trading desk downplayed that prospect and was confident that retailers on other main -indices, such as the FTSE 250, would not be sold on the back of a reduced FTSE 100 presence.
A Carphone spokesman said it would be disappointing to exit the FTSE 100, but added: “It doesn’t make any difference to how the business is run.”