Quotes: US MENA   Enter Symbol: NewsLetter: Search: advanced

Bleak winter for Britain's high-street retailers  Join our daily free Newsletter

MENAFN - AFP - 20/01/2013

No. of Ratings : 0
Add to Mixx!


(MENAFN - AFP) Four big British high-street retailers have called in administrators this winter as cash-strapped, web-literate consumers proved unforgiving of stores failing to adapt to fast-evolving markets.

DVD rental chain Blockbuster became the latest casualty Wednesday, with its British arm entering administration -- in which a troubled firm brings in independent financial help in a bid to stay operational -- a day after music chain HMV made the same move.

Camera chain Jessops went into administration on January 9 and closed its 187 shops shortly after, while electrical firm Comet shut its 235 stores in December. The failures have cost Britain 9,025 jobs, with another 7,780 in the balance.

Bryan Roberts, director of retail insights at analysts Kantar, said this was part of a trend that began with the 2008 financial crisis.

"We've been through such a brutally Darwinistic few years, in which all the runts of the litter have been picked off," he said.

The still-struggling economy, which climbed out of double-dip recession in the third quarter of 2012, faces at best sluggish growth this year.

Retailers meanwhile face stiff competition from supermarkets and online sales, especially in entertainment, where downloads and streaming are eroding markets for physical products.

HMV, the last nationwide music store chain, failed to produce a strong online offering early enough to combat Amazon and Apple's iTunes, Roberts said.

"Management in the late 90s was very dismissive of the threat and the opportunity of online," he said.

Later, the store tried to diversify into areas including consumer technology, live music and accessories, but this "diluted their authority", Roberts added.

"If you were a consumer who had music tastes beyond the mainstream you were very badly served by HMV."

Blockbuster was late to grasp the threat posed by online services such as Netflix and Lovefilm, which offer films and television programmes for download, while Jessops fell prey to digital photo processing and phone cameras.

Matt Piner, research director at consultants Conlumino, said store chains needed to focus on multi-channel, "bricks and clicks" retailing along with distinctive product ranges.

He cited department stores John Lewis and electricals firm Dixons -- which owns Currys and PC World -- among companies proving more resilient. Both offer popular "click-and-collect" services.

Both reported strong Christmas sales, with John Lewis saying takings in the pre-Christmas week had hit 157.8 million (250.3 million, 187.9 million euros) -- a 26.5 percent increase on the same week a year earlier.

Another group of retailers have been dragged down by debt, even where sales are holding up. JJB Sports, once Britain's biggest sports retailer, failed in October with administrators only securing a sale of 20 of its over 150 stores.

HMV was also debt-laden, with underlying net debt growing to 176.1 million in the six months to the end of October, and banks and suppliers finally running out of patience on bad loans.

Debt concerns are stalking private equity-owned fashion chain New Look, which said in November it was planning a 1.1 billion refinancing over 18 months.

The government warned in November of unproductive, indebted "zombie" companies kept alive by low interest rates and banks unwilling to recognise their losses.

Researchers Local Data Company said last week that overall store closings were set to double to 4,000 outlets in 2013 from 2012.

High street shop vacancy rates had already hit a 15-year high in November, with 11.3 percent of shops in town centres empty.

Blockbuster and HMV are still seeking rescue deals, with more than 50 reported expressions of interest in the music retailer, whose chief executive insisted it "still has a place on the high street".

Roberts, of Kantar, said HMV was likely to survive in some form, as its brand -- with a distinctive logo of a dog listening to an old-fashioned gramophone -- is "an incredibly resonant brand for British shoppers".

But he said the future looked "bleak" for Blockbuster, where administrators are to close at least 129 of 529 stores.

Samuel Tombs, UK economist at Capital Economics, said stores would have to wait until 2014 for a more forgiving climate.

"I think consumers are going to remain under pressure this year -- inflation is likely to remain above increases in wages for the next year or so, so consumer spending power will be reduced, with pressure to pay down debts rather than spend on the high street," he said.<


  MENA News Headlines
Apr 23 2014Kowait: 5938 illegal residents said 'rectified' status ,Arab Times
(MENAFN - Arab Times) Kuwait city april 5 (kuna): up to 5 938 illegal residents have modified their status since formation of the central agency for remedying illegal residents' status in 2011 ...

Apr 23 2014Kowait- 'All must join hands to save youth from strife' ,Arab Times
(MENAFN - Arab Times)  kuwait city april 9 (kuna): minister of information and minister of state for youth affairs sheikh salman al-sabah said tuesday the youth ministry has completed a study ...

Apr 23 2014Kowait- MoH boosts efforts to curb obesity rate ,Arab Times
(MENAFN - Arab Times)  kuwait city feb 3 (kuna): director of the health well-being division of the ministry of health dr abeer al- baho affirmed sunday that the ministry scaled up the efforts ...

Apr 23 2014UAE- Local international companies come out in force ,Khaleej Times
(MENAFN - Khaleej Times) Cityscape abu dhabi has started showing stronger interest from property developers who have showcased their upcoming projects. the three-day realty show was opened by ...

Apr 23 2014UAE- ADCB NIC in Dh950 million deal ,Khaleej Times
(MENAFN - Khaleej Times) Abu dhabi commercial bank or adcb this week inked a dh950 million term facility to provide national investment corporation or nic the developer of the breakwater area in ...

Apr 23 2014Galadari Automobiles unveils all-new 2015 Mazda3 in UAE ,Khaleej Times
(MENAFN - Khaleej Times) The all-new mazda3 was unveiled to the world at events held simultaneously in five cities where the consensus was loud and clear: ?mazda has done it again!? galadari ...

Apr 23 2014Kowait- Parliament refuses to lift MP immunity ,Arab Times
(MENAFN - Arab Times) Kuwait april 3 (kuna): the national assembly committee on legislative and legal affairs has turned down a request from the public prosecution on wednesday to lift the immunity ...

Apr 23 2014Kowait- Police deportation powers curbed ,Arab Times
(MENAFN - Arab Times) Kuwait city april 3 (afp): kuwaiti police will no longer be able to deport expatriates without interior ministry approval under new rules published thursday after officers ...

Apr 23 2014Kowait- Amiri Diwan urges all off tape case ,Arab Times
(MENAFN - Arab Times)  kuwait city april 9 (agencies): the amiri diwan has called on everybody to steer clear of the controversial tape issue and let the public prosecution take the necessary ...

Apr 23 2014UAE- Cassation Court upholds' drug dealer's life term ,Khaleej Times
(MENAFN - Khaleej Times) The abu dhabi court of cassation on monday upheld the life sentence awarded to a gcc national for drug smuggling and trafficking. the court also upheld his one-year ...

Apr 23 2014Kowait- New hospital to be ready by 2014 end ,Arab Times
(MENAFN - Arab Times) Kuwait city jan 14 (kuna): director of the 'mega projects 3' group at kuwait oil company (koc) yaqoub dashti said on tuesday that the new ahmadi hospital would be ready to ...

Apr 23 2014Kowait- Rationalization of water use in focus ,Arab Times
(MENAFN - Arab Times) Kuwait city april 7 (kuna): under the patronage of minister of electricity and water abdulaziz al-ibrahim kuwait environment protection society (keps) organized monday a ...

Apr 23 2014Breaking an egg ... for charity in Abu Dhabi ,Khaleej Times
(MENAFN - Khaleej Times) The campaign which runs till the end of april features a live exhibition to the public and a private auction of the life-sized eggs. shaikh nahyan bin mubarak al nahyan ...

Apr 23 2014UAE- Dewa and GE explore collaboration opportunities ,Khaleej Times
(MENAFN - Khaleej Times) Saeed mohammed al tayer managing director and chief executive officer of the dubai electricity and water authority (dewa) recently received a ge delegation to explore ...

Apr 23 2014UAE- Sale of Gate Towers penthouses launched ,Khaleej Times
(MENAFN - Khaleej Times) Aldar properties has launched the sale of 21 exclusive duplex penthouse apartments at gate towers the penthouse collection in shams abu dhabi on al reem island. one of ...

Apr 23 2014Kuwait- Five individuals tested negative for Coronavirus ,Kuwait News Agency (KUNA)
(MENAFN - Kuwait News Agency (KUNA)) The Health Authority of Abu Dhabi (HAAD) announced here on Tuesday that five more of the individuals who were in isolation in hospital with MERS Coronavirus ...

Apr 23 2014Jordan complains to UNSC about Israeli "alarming" developments in Al-Aqsa compound ,Kuwait News Agency (KUNA)
(MENAFN - Kuwait News Agency (KUNA)) Jordan on Tuesday complained to the Security Council about the unhindered incursions into the Haram Al-Sharif compound by Israeli settlers and extremists, under ...

Apr 23 2014Over 86 pct of Syrian chemical weapons removed from country ,Kuwait News Agency (KUNA)
(MENAFN - Kuwait News Agency (KUNA)) The Director General of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), Ahmet Uzumcu, Tuesday welcomed delivery of a further consignment of ...

Apr 23 2014Arab League: Syrian Presidential elections contradict with Geneva I communique ,Kuwait News Agency (KUNA)
(MENAFN - Kuwait News Agency (KUNA)) Arab League Secretary General Nabil Al-Araby said Tuesday Damascus' decision to hold presidential elections on June 3 was a "contradiction of the Geneva I ...

Apr 23 2014Al Ittihad wary of Al Ain ,Khaleej Times
(MENAFN - Khaleej Times) Teams eye group c lead to take advantage of playing at home in knockouts al ain players celebrate their victory against tractorsazi tabriz (iran) in the afc champions ...





Middle East North Africa - Financial Network

MENAFN News Market Data Countries Tools Section  

Middle East North Africa - Financial Network

Main News
News By Industry
News By Country
Marketwatch News
UPI News
Comtex News

IPO News
Islamic Finance News
Private Equity News

How-To Guides
Technology Section

Travel Section

Search News

Market Indices
Quotes & Charts

Global Indices
Arab Indices

US Markets Details


Oil & Energy

Currencies Cross Rates
Currencies Updates
Currency Converter

USA Stocks
Arab Stocks

Saudi Arabia 

Investment Game
Economic Calendar
Financial Glossary

Portfolio Tracker


Financial Calculators

RSS Feeds [XML]

Corporate Monitor


Real Estate
Submit Your Property

Arab Research
Buy a Research

Press Releases
Submit your PR

Join Newsletters

© 2000 menafn.com All Rights Reserved.  Terms of Service | Privacy Policy | Contact Us | Advertise | About MENAFN | Career Opportunities | Feedback | Help