Blog: UK retail sector under pressure
Leonie Barrie | 12 December 2011
In the same week that figures showed UK retailers achieved their weakest sales performance for six months in November, news also broke that thousands of jobs are at risk after several clothing and footwear chains were put up for sale.
Nearly 4,000 jobs are threatened after the owner of the Barratts and Priceless Shoes stores collapsed into administration after a downturn in trading. And Blacks Leisure, the UK's largest outdoor clothing and equipment retailer, has appealed for a buyer for the firm or one of its brands. Irisa plans to close a number of stores as part of its restructuring efforts, and rumours are circulating that discount fashion chain Peacocks may close some 200 stores.
While a mild autumn has hurt sales of cold-weather items, the sector is also being buffeted by the ongoing eurozone crisis, high inflation and stagnant wages - all of which will continue to put pressure on consumers.
Supermarket giant Tesco has also admitted that clothing sales were "difficult" during its third quarter as it struggled to move winter lines due to warmer weather. The comments came as the retailer recorded another quarter of falling revenues in the UK and a "sharp" slowdown in its operations in Asia.
And struggling US women's wear chain Talbots has received an unsolicited takeover bid from one of its leading shareholders, which is concerned by the company's "rapidly deteriorating performance." The offer from private equity firm Sycamore Partners came after Talbots said it was seeking a successor for president and CEO Trudy Sullivan. Less than week before it had revealed plans to cut 9% of its corporate headcount and close stores after third quarter loss widened to $22m on a 6.6% drop in sales.
While another victim of the tough retail environment, Pacific Sunwear of California, is to close up to 200 under-performing stores after securing new credit agreements designed to help turn around the ailing business. The announcement came as the US company posted wider third quarter losses and falling sales.
And India has backtracked on its decision to allow more foreign investment in the country's multi-brand retail sector. However, it is thought the government still plans to relax single-brand foreign direct ownership rules, which would allow brands like Marks & Spencer, Ikea, Gap and Armani to own their operations in the country.
The explosive growth of the Bangladeshi ready-made garment industry is more likely to be accompanied by accusations of sweatshop exploitation from labour rights activists than praise for the positive ...
US retailers ramped up stocks for the start of the back-to-school season in July, pushing apparel imports for the month up by 13.4%, according to the latest data. But while China and Vietnam were the ...
US retail giant Gap Inc has made no secret of the fact that it faced - and continues to face - a number of compliance issues linked to its decision to start sourcing garments from Myanmar/Burma....
To coincide with World Water Week, which kicked off in Stockholm yesterday, the need for better use of increasingly limited water resources has turned the spotlight on the global cotton industry - one...
- India's labour law reforms edge a step closer
- Alliance and Accord urged to harmonise efforts
- Retailers voice concerns on Scottish independence
- Improved supplier capabilities benefit Next
- THE FLANARANT: Understand win-win or lose out
- Under Armour "resonating strongly" with consumers
- H&M goes green with Conscious Denim
- Ultrasonic execs disappear along with company cash
- Adidas defends position despite investor unrest
- Trial cotton subsidy scheme underway in China
- Apparel Market in China to 2018 - Market Size, Trends, and Forecasts
- Wool in the 21st Century: new prospects for a familiar fibre
- Global market review of denim and jeanswear – forecasts to 2020
- Global Database of the Top 1000 Apparel Producers - Company Names, Financial Performance, Key Executives, and Contact Details
- Ethiopia - ISA Country Report