Long-awaited launch fails to work magic
The Harry Potter price war has hit sales at Ottakar's for the 24 weeks to July 30. Total sales for the period were up by 5.1 per cent, but like-for-like sales were down 0.3 per cent.

Recent trading has been even harder hit, with like-for-like sales for the four weeks to July 16 down 6.7 per cent. The retailer attributed the disappointing sales performance to, among other things, lower-than-expected sales of the latest Harry Potter book as a result of heavy discounting by supermarkets and other competitors.

Ottakar's resolved to focus on maintaining gross margins as well as managing costs and cash flow.

Ottakar's chairman Philip Dunne said: 'Trading overall has been below our expectations in large part as a result of the softness seen in the past four weeks. It is too early to anticipate the outcome of our full year, which is, as ever, dependent on the crucial Christmas trading period.'