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

17:26pm Hardy Amies enters administration for second time in a decade

Savile Row outfitter Hardy Amies has entered administration for the second time in a decade after “trading at a loss for some time”.

The heritage brand, which was at one time official dressmaker to the Queen, was operating one UK flagship and an ecommerce site. International operations are unaffected.

Administrator Freddy Khalastchi, business recovery partner at accountancy firm Menzies, said: “Despite trading at a loss in the UK for some time, the Hardy Amies’ brand has a unique heritage and it very much deserves to live on.

“We are looking forward to talking with potential buyers in the coming days and weeks to find a way to make this happen.”


12:33pm Debenhams lenders draft in City advisers

A consortium of Debenhams lenders has drafted in advisers as the department store chain prepares to restructure its debt and store estate in a bid for its future.

The group of lenders, which includes prominent hedge funds, appointed FTI Consulting just before Christmas.

Debenhams’ borrowing facilities amount to just over £500m and are due to expire next year, although they can be extended until 2021.

7:33am Topps Tiles sale decline in “challenging market”

The specialist retailer recorded a 1.4% fall in like-for-like sales in the 13 weeks to December 29 against an uplift of 3.4% the previous year.

The retailer closed two stores and opened one during the period taking its overall store estate to 367.

Chief executive Matthew Williams said: “Against a challenging market backdrop and a strong period of performance in the prior year we believe the business has performed robustly over the first quarter.”

7:20am ‘Predatory online pricing’ worse than rates, says Timpson

‘Predatory pricing’ by online retailers is a bigger problem to bricks-and-mortar retailers than business rates, Sir John Timpson has said.

Speaking to a select committee following the publication of his report on the future of the high street, the retail guru said that pricing methods from online players negatively affected those operating on the high street.

7:16am Sosander records Christmas sales surge

The womenswear retailer recorded a 219% increase in revenue to £1.6m in the three months to December 31, ahead of expectations and higher than the company’s revenue for the entire prior financial year.

The retailer’s number of orders during the period rose 221% to 35,183 while its average order value increased 10% to £105.58.

As a result Sosander said that it “expects revenue for the full year to be slightly ahead of current market expectations with the net loss for the year in line.”

7:15am Sainsbury’s Christmas sales dip despite grocery uplift

The grocer reported a 0.4% decline in total retail sales excluding fuel in the 15 weeks to January 5, exacerbated by a 1.1% decline in like-for-like sales.

Grocery sales rose 0.4% during the period spurred by a 6% and 3% increase in its online grocery and convenience sales respectively.

These increases were offset, however, by a 2.3% decline in general merchandise sales and a 0.2% dip in clothing sales, which the retailer attributed to decreased Black Friday promotional activity. 

7:14am Majestic sales up but retail lags behind

Majestic reported a rise in sales over the festive quarter but its retail division failed to fly.

Sales rose a healthy 6.3% over the 10 weeks to December 31 but core Majestic retail sales were up just 1.5%. In contrast, sales at Naked Wines shot up 15.9%.

The subdivision performed better in the US than the UK, rising 21% compared to 12.2%, as Britain endured “difficult trading conditions amidst economic uncertainty and weak consumer confidence”.

7:11am Shoe Zone full year profits rise as sales increase

The footwear retailer posted and 18.4% boost in statutory pre-tax profit to £11.3m in the 52 weeks to December 29, bolstered by a 1.8% uplift in revenue to £160.6m.

The retailer opened 19 big box stores during the financial period, which contributed £7.1m to its overall sales. Today Shoe Zone has 25 big box outlets in its store estate with a further 20 targeted this year.

Chief executive Nick Davis said: “I am pleased to report that 2018 has been another successful year for Shoe Zone with the group delivering a record profit before tax since IPO driven from a strong performance throughout the business while operating in a challenging consumer environment.”

7:07am Mothercare sales plunge further in festive quarter

Mothercare’s sales failed to recover over the golden quarter, with UK sales crashing nearly 20%.

UK like-for-likes were down 11.4% while total sales crashed 18.4%. Online sales fell 16.3%.

International sales also fell but less dramatically. They decreased 1.1% in constant currencies and 3.2% in actual currencies despite a 3.8% rise in space.

Chief executive Mark Newton-Jones insisted the retailer was “on course to deliver the necessary transformation”.

7:03am Ted Baker sales rise over Christmas quarter

Ted Baker sales rose over the festive period with ecommerce sales leading the uplift.

Retail sales including online were up 12.2%, or 10.5% in constant currencies, during the five weeks to January 5.

Online sales grew 18.7% and were responsible for just over one quarter of all retail sales.

The retailer, which is under fire following allegations of misconduct against founder Ray Kelvin by employees, did not give a store sales figure.