Weekly Retail & Leisure News - 16 March, 2015
UK retail sales increased 0.2% in February on a LFL basis
according to the latest figures from the BRC. On a total basis, sales were up
1.7%, against a 0.7% rise in February 2014. After many retailers reported
positive Christmas trading and healthy growth was registered in January,
February is traditionally a quiet month for retailers. It is therefore positive
to see that retail sales continued to rise this month, despite continuing
decline in LFL food sales.
However, in the longer term, trading performance announced
this week by some of the UK’s largest retailers has been mixed. Sales at John
Lewis’s department store business grew 2.2% on a LFL basis in the 52 weeks to
January 31. In the same period, LFL sales at Waitrose grew 1.4% and online
sales were up 21.6% to £1.4bn. However, in the 8 weeks to February 28, Home
Retail Group announced LFL sales at Argos fell 5% and were also down 0.9% at
Homebase. Morrisons also announced this week that LFL sales had fallen by 2.6%
in their fourth quarter.
It has also been announced this week that Sir Philip Green
has sold the department store chain BHS to an investment vehicle called Retail
Acquisitions Ltd. Founded in 1928 in Brixton, BHS has 180 stores and employs
almost 12,000 staff; however the asking price for the retailer has been quoted as
low as £1. BHS was part of the Arcadia Group, controlled by Sir Philip, which
still includes TopShop, Burton and Evans. The company was sold debt free, but has
announced losses in recent years, including a £69.6m loss in 2013 on £675.7m of
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Director, Head of Retail Research (UK & EMEA)
+44 (0)20 3147 1155
Director, Head of UK Retail & Leisure
+44 (0)20 7318 7838
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