A report from Mintel published today values mixed goods sales in the six largest European economies and Ireland to be worth Eu67.5 billion (£46.6 billion). However, last year, these retailers experienced a lift of only Eu700 million (£483 million). The report cites the demise of Allders and the restructuring problems experienced by Karstadtquelle as examples of how difficult trading has become for department stores across Europe.
Mintel director of retail research Richard Perks said: 'Some business have responded better than others to changing consumer demand, but those that have performed less well are increasingly falling victim to property developers. A department store has to do particularly well if it is not to be more profitable to sell the site for redevelopment. By the end of 2004 it was looking more and more as if businesses were being viewed for their property potential rather than as trading entities.'