mattd, Author at The Retail & Hospitality Design Forum
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Record sales growth for DFS…

DFS Furniture plc has announced that sales have soared by 7 per cent in the last half of 2015, after the furniture retailer expanded its presence with two store openings in the UK and Ireland and establishing its seventh Customer Distribution Centre.

The record gross amounted to £461.3 million, with EBITDA up by 12.3 per cent to £31 million and a solid free cash flow of £37.7 million. In addition, web sales have continued to strengthen with a recorded growth of 17.7 per cent, as CEO Ian Filby declares that the company has ‘confidence’ that it will continue to uphold its sales growth, cash generation and market share capture over the next 12 months

Next boss says ‘consumer slowdown’ behind sales slump…

With clothing retailer Next‘s annual results proving difficult to stomach, its chief executive Simon Wolfson has suggested that consumers now prefer to spend money on other luxuries such as holidays and eating out – with Wolfson claiming that the year ahead will be the ‘toughest’ since the financial crisis in 2008 for all clothing retailers.

It comes after Next reported that its credit service for the Directory had decreased by 4 per cent last year and, after a prosperous five years where shares had quadrupled, have now lost an estimated 30 per cent of their value.

Read the full article here.

Shoes and clothing sales experience biggest fall since 1991…

According to official figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS), sales of clothing and shoes in the UK fell by 3.4 per cent in February, making it the sixth consecutive month to fall and the longest stretch of decline since October 1991.

With the drop in sector sales amounting to 0.4 per cent of the overall retail fall, retailers have said that the warmer weather this winter is the reason as to why many goods such as jumpers and jackets have been left unsold. Nonetheless, managing director at, Dennis de Jong, has suggested that the EU referendum debate could have played a significant part. “Shoppers tend to be tight-fisted after the January sales but deeper concerns surrounding a possible Brexit might be making them think twice before spending.”

Read the full article here.

Ailing BHS close to selling Oxford Street flagship…

It has been reported that struggling high street department store, BHS, is planning to sell its flagship Oxford Street store to the Abu Dhabi royal family in a deal worth an estimated £55 million.

The retailer, which was founded in 1928 by Retail Acquisitions Ltd, is liaising with Lancer Property Asset Management – who already owns the freehold of the site – to close the multi-million pound deal on behalf of the royal family. After securing a company voluntary arrangement (CVA), the retailer is also currently in negotiations with US investment firm, Gordon Brothers, to acquire a £60 million loan.

Sainsbury’s succeeds in battle to buy Argos…

After a four-month battle, Sainsbury’s has accomplished its takeover of Argos (Home Retail Group) with the owner agreeing to a £1.4 billion takeover.

With Home Retail shareholders holding 12 per cent of the combined business, Sainsbury’s has said that it plans to create a ‘multi-product, multi-channel’, with completion of the acquisition expected to be in the third quarter of this year. Facing competition from international retail holding company Steinhoff, Sainsbury’s can expect to see some Argos stores moving to its store locations as 200 of the 845 Argos stores are expected to close in the coming years due to expiring leases.

Retail to take biggest hit with new NLW introduction…

According to the British Retail Consortium, retail will become the most affected industry with the introduction of the new National Living Wage (NLW) which came into force on April 1, and will have to find an additional £3 billion annually by 2020 to foot the staff wage bill.

An estimated 300,000 UK workers will now benefit from the NLW and, according to figures supplied by the Low Pay Commission (LPC), retail has beaten hospitality to become the biggest minimum wage employer – with over 511,000 staff over the age of 16 and 23 per cent of all retail workers receiving the £7.20 per hour rate.

The LPC also found that the cleaning industry’s wage bill will increase by 3.5 per cent by 2020, 2 per cent higher than the retail prediction of 1.5 per cent, however the Commission agrees that retail will be greatly affected due to the ‘size’ of the industry.

In addition, major retail chains such as Starbucks and N Brown Group plc– which owns Jacamo, Simply Be and JD Williams – have all pledged to extend the National Living Wage offering to all employees under the age of 25, a decision welcomed by the TUC and workers’rights activists, but could be a contributor to the high industry wage bill