28 warnings in past quarter
Profit warnings from the general retail sector have doubled in the second quarter of this year compared with the same period last year.

A total of 28 profit warnings in the general retail sector have been recorded so far in 2007, 10 off them in the past quarter.

The findings, published in a report by Ernst & Young, showed profit warnings had increased across all sectors for the first half of 2007 to their highest levels since the dot-com bubble burst.

Ernst & Young corporate and restructuring partner Keith McGregor said: 'We are a long way from the economic climate of 2001 when more than 230 profit warnings were issued in the first half of the year.' However, he cautioned that the 191 warnings issued so far this year are a reminder that some public companies in the UK are struggling.

Although retail sales are growing, the report said that inflation and rising interest rates will leave consumers with the smallest proportion of discretionary income for five years.

Any sales gains that some retailers have made in recent months are thought to come largely from an increase in heavily discounted products.