Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 20 December 2014

Rotten end to rotten year for struggling retailers

Another day, another retailer begins to disappear from Northern Ireland's high street.

With Scottish denim purveyors D2 following Barratts and Priceless shoe chain into a second administration, it's a rotten end to a rotten year for retail and it seems like barely a week is going by without another well-known name hitting hard times as money-conscious consumers cut back on their spending.

In 2011 alone, previous big-hitters like TJ Hughes, Jane Norman, La Senza and Blacks Leisure - which owns the Millets chain - have run into trouble, while Thorntons, Mothercare and HMV have all recently issued profit warnings.

In what has been a week of gloomy news, even supermarket giant Tesco has been named in a report by retail research firm Verdict as likely to be "the most challenged grocer" in 2012 as rivals ramp up the competition with more outlets and cut-price deals.

Furthermore, according to the report, electrical, DIY and furniture purchases are set to nose-dive by hundreds of millions of pounds.

It has been warned by many analysts, both in Northern Ireland and in the wider UK, that the first few months of the year may see some of the harshest ever trading conditions as consumers continue to tighten their belts.

Retail sales are predicted to grow just 1.2% in 2012, the third lowest rate in 40 years.

Diversity and adaptability are going to be key to survival.

The old-fashioned attitude - that you can keep reaping the same profits by the same actions - is not good enough when consumers are less likely than ever to give over their cash in these straightened times.

And it will be interesting to see which retailers have fared best as the nation's favourites begin to reveal their trading figures next week.

COMMENT RULES: Comments that are judged to be defamatory, abusive or in bad taste are not acceptable and contributors who consistently fall below certain criteria will be permanently blacklisted. The moderator will not enter into debate with individual contributors and the moderator’s decision is final. It is Belfast Telegraph policy to close comments on court cases, tribunals and active legal investigations. We may also close comments on articles which are being targeted for abuse. Problems with commenting? customercare@belfasttelegraph.co.uk

Comment

More

Company Profiles

More

Help & Advice

More

People on the move

More