Britain's leading clothing retailers have experienced three "disappointing" years with both profits and margins continuing to slide, according to a new financial report released on Thursday.

The Business Ratio Report, entitled Clothing Retailers, analysed and compared the financial performances of 110 leading clothing retail chains and stores for the last three full accounting periods.

Among its key findings were:

The average pre-tax profit for the industry as a whole dropped to 7.1 per cent in 1999/2000 from 8.8 per cent in 1997/1998.

Compound sales growth for the three year period stands at a relatively healthy 10 per cent with the sub-sector showing the greatest growth over that period being general clothing which recorded an 11 per cent rise.

The average profit per pound of pay for the industry has fallen from 66 pence in 1997/1998 to 49 pence in the final year.

Among the companies that have performed well are Joseph Ltd, Ted Baker, Jane Norman, Monsoon Accessories, Paul Smith, Tunbull and Asser, and New Look Retailers.

Published by The Prospect Shop, the report concludes: "Over the past three years, leading clothing retailers have seen total sales increase by 21.2 per cent to an average of £75m. However, despite this, total profits have fallen by 2.3 per cent to an average of £5.3m in 1999/2000.

"Overall, the 1997-2000 financial period has been a mixed one for leading clothes retailers, while sales have continued to grow, profitability and efficiency ratios have suffered."

To view related research reports, please follow the links below:-

Clothing Retailing

Clothing Retailers