Up-to-date coverage of the latest events in UK retail.

1:39pm West End retailers brace for business rates rise

Selfridges and Debenahms are amongst the high street retailers bracing for a combined £45m business rates hike in London’s West End for 2019/20. 

Department store chain Selfridges is bracing to pay out £17.4m in business rates for its Oxford Street flagship store alone over the next year, a 62% increase since 2017. 

Struggling department store business Debenhams is also looking at a 60% increase in rates contribution for its Oxford Street store. 

More than 8,000 properties in the West End are facing steep increases to business rates in the coming year, according to property consultant Altus Group. 

7.11am New Look sales rise ahead of Christmas

New Look has registered an increase in sales during the crucial Christmas quarter as the business hailed “continued progress” with its turnaround plan.

The embattled fashion group said like-for-likes in its core UK business advanced 0.9% in the third quarter ending December 22, 2018.

In its financial year to date, covering the 39 weeks to December 22, 2018, New Look’s group adjusted EBITDA during the period jumped 78% to £78m, despite a 5% slip in revenues to just over £1bn.

New Look brand like-for-likes fell 2.3%, although that marked a slowdown in the 10.7% slump it suffered during the same period the previous year.

7.06am Dunelm first-half profits rise

Dunelm has posted an increase in first-half profits as the drive to simplify its business model bore fruit.

The homewares specialist registered a 24.3% jump in reported pre-tax profit to £70m during the 26 weeks to December 29, 2018. EBITDA was up 21.5% to £92.8m.

Dunelm said total revenues climbed 1.2% to £551.8m, while like-for-likes advanced 6.9% to £506.7m.

The retailer hailed the impact of focusing on the core Dunelm business and simplifying its operations.

During the half, Dunelm closed both the Kiddicare and Worldstores websites, transferring the lines it wanted to continue selling to Dunelm.com.

Store sales advanced 3.8%, which Dunelm attributed to improved product selection and sourcing, with a renewed focus on “offering more style and better value to customers”.