Sunday 1 January 2017

NEXT Becomes The First High-Street Retailer To Report On Christmas Sales


Fashion retailers have struggled over the past 12 months because of unseasonable weather and customers shunning the high street, preferring to spend their hard-earned cash on trips to cinemas and restaurants, or on holidays.

However, retail bosses had been hopeful that the Christmas period could be one of the best festive seasons for several years, thanks to Christmas Day falling on a Sunday, the weak pound encouraging tourists to spend more on the high street and signs of rising inflation encouraging shoppers into stores before potential price hikes.

Next has had a particularly tough year, as it failed to improve on the stellar results in 2015. Shares plummeted 31 per cent last year to £49.83, making it one of the worst performers on the FTSE 100.

Its outspoken chief executive Lord Simon Wolfson is expected to tell the City that despite a decent Christmas, 2017 could prove equally tough.

His expected fears are also echoed in new research that suggests that 2017 could see further high-street casualties, with almost half of all fashion retailers at risk of failure or financial difficulty.

Opus Restructuring found that 3,991 of the UK’s fashion retailers are at risk of failure, or about 44 per cent.


This was a sharp deterioration since this time last year when 37.1 per cent of fashion retailers were financially vulnerable.

Using data supplied by Company Watch, monitors of corporate financial health, Opus discovered that these businesses could face either formal insolvency or a major financial restructuring during the next three years.

However, Nick Hood, Business Risk Adviser at Opus, said the high street is unlikely to see collapses on the scale of BHS and Austin Reed from 2016.

He added: “Retailers face an uncertain 2017 as customers cut back spending while they repay the debts they ran up for Christmas 2016 and as shops struggle to bring this year’s endless deep discounting binge back under some sort of control.

“There will be some winners among rag trade retailers, mainly those who run a very tight ship financially and offer brands that command sufficient public admiration.”



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