UK: GUS Home Shopping Shows Six Per Cent Decline
Great Universal Stores (GUS), the catalogue retailer, blamed a sustained weakness in demand for clothing and increased promotional activity, such as markdowns, for the continuing poor performance of its UK Home Shopping business.UK Home Shopping year to date sales to 22 July declined by 6 per cent over the year to £1.684m, while trading profits plunged by £85m to £21m.GUS' European Home Shopping business also did badly with trading profit falling by 15 per cent to £25.1m, reflecting the drop in the euro. The company, whose catalogues include Kays, Choice and Great Universal, said that growth in the highly competitive UK discount retail sector and loss of customers due to greater credit card penetration among its traditional customer base were the key factors behind the depressed sales performance.The scene in Europe was similar to the UK. Wehkamp, GUS' Netherlands-based catalogue, faces increased competition from domestic and international retailers.It is countering this situation by moving rapidly into e-commerce.Sales at Burberrys however, were up on last year. The upmarket retailer, which is regarded as non-core, showed strong growth in its retail stores and in wholesale.
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