Retailers on red alert



British high-street favourites admit to dropping sales as they struggling to survive the country’s toughest market conditions. Dixons, Halfords and Home Retail Group, the company which owns Argos, experienced a slump in sales over the festive period.

There was a 2 per cent fall in like-for-like sales in Dixons in the twelve weeks leading to the 8th January and footfall was down during the week before Christmas due to the arctic conditions across the UK. Business did improve for the electrical stores as shoppers raced to the seasonal sales to snap up high price goods before the VAT increase on January 4th.

Argos saw a fall in sales of 3.2 per cent in the 19 weeks ending on the 1st January blaming a lack of demand for jewellery and faltering gaming and television sales.

The 1.6 per cent growth in Halfords repair centres did little to soften the blow to the company whose like-for-like sales fell by as much as 6.6 per cent during the last 13 weeks of 2010. They cite a decline in the number of bicycles being bought as children’s’ Christmas presents a one of the possible causes for the dip in sales.

Other retailers who were affected by the cold weather include Next, HMV and Mothercare. Thorntons stores were also amongst those worst hit with a 5.9 per cent drop in sales, however due to the brand’s presence on the shelves of supermarkets and other outlets throughout the UK the company still managed a growth in sales of 3.9 per cent.

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