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Carpetright and Bonmarche head losers

London Stock ExchangeShares in two FTSE 100 companies fell more than 40% following profits warnings.

The sell-offs came as new figures showed shop sales slid by 1.5% in December, much more than expected and capping the weakest year for retail since 2013 as consumers squeezed by high inflation continued to keep a tight grip on spending.

The Office for National Statistics said many shoppers had moved their spending to November from December to take advantage of Black Friday offers.

Figures for the whole of 2017 show sales increased by 1.9%, which was the lowest annual growth since 2013.

Carpetright closed down 41.6% while Bonmarche plummeted by 19.8%.  DFS Furniture department store Debenhams also fell. Dignity, one of the day’s biggest fallers, plunged 49%.

Carpetright has cut its forecast for full-year profits after suffering a “sharp deterioration” in UK trade.

It said trading in the key post-Christmas period had been “significantly behind expectations”.

In the 11 weeks to 13 January, like-for-like sales – which strip out the impact of store openings or closures – fell 3.6% in the UK.

Womenswear retailer Bonmarche has reported disappointing sales for the Christmas trading period.

The retailer saw its like-for-like sales for the 13 weeks ended 30 Dec were 5.5% down on the previous year.

Store like-for-like sales were down by 9.7%, but online sales increased by 28.5%.

Asia stocks edged up to record highs following China’s announcement of faster-than-expected fourth quarter growth,

Wall Street dipped from record highs while Brent crude futures lost 1% to $68.62 per barrel following data showing an uptick in US production.

The FTSE 100, after trading lower earlier in the session, closed up 29.83 points at 7,730.79.

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