Belfast Telegraph

Shares in Ultimate Products plummet following consumer confidence jolt

Shares in Ultimate Products, the firm behind Russell Hobbs, went into freefall on Monday after it warned over falling consumer confidence.

Ultimate Products, which owns the Beldray brand and holds the licence to sell Russell Hobbs and Salter kitchenware ranges in the UK, said in a trading update that the environment has become "tougher".

"The overall trading environment for general merchandise has become tougher, with wage inflation running behind general inflation.

"Consumers' discretionary spend is under pressure and confidence is therefore lower than it has been for some time, which is inevitably being reflected in purchasing behaviour.

"For retailers, this has also coincided with cost price increases in the wake of last year's sterling devaluation."

The collapse in sterling following the Brexit vote has hammered retailers, driving up their costs, which have been passed on to already hard pressed consumers.

The result has been a steady decline in consumer confidence, sagging retail sales and an stalling economy.

Shares tumbled 47% to 110.1p in afternoon trading following the update.

The firm added: "Retailers are generally exercising caution with regard to their non-food buying for Autumn/Winter 2017.

"This is manifesting itself in a reluctance to commit to purchasing too far forward, with retailers instead placing orders later or buying from stock."

Ultimate sells household brands to more than 300 retailers across 38 countries, including UK supermarket giants Tesco and Sainsbury's, Amazon, Boots, Halfords and Poundland.

Ultimate Products, which recently listed on the London Stock Exchange, said it now "anticipates that revenue growth for 2018 is unlikely".

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