More retailers hit by December’s big freeze

| January 6, 2011 | 0 Comments

The heavy snowfall which gripped most of the country last month has hit more retailers, figures showed today.

December 2010 was the coldest nationally since records began in 1910.

Yesterday, Next – Britain’s second largest fashion retailer, said sales for the five months to Christmas Eve – at shops open at least a year – were down 6.1%. However, online sales were up 8.7% as shoppers opted to stay at home.

Also yesterday, music, books, DVDs and games retailer, HMV, said full-year profit come in at the lower end of forecasts.

The company later announced it would close 60 stores over the next year after saying it was struggling to meet the terms of its lending agreements.

Today, mother and baby products retailer Mothercare, greeting card chain Clinton Cards, and McBride, Europe’s largest maker of retailer own-brand cleaning products, all said sales suffered last month.

Mothercare said UK like-for-like sales excluding VAT were down 5.8% in the 12 weeks to 1 January, sending its shares down 5% to 568p.

Meanwhile, Clinton Cards added to the retail gloom and said like-for-like sales fell 2.1% in the five week period to 2 January.

Shares in McBride plummeted 7% after it said its full-year performance could be towards the lower end of its expectations due to a challenging outlook - particularly in the UK.

Supermarket giant Tesco, Kingfisher and Marks and Spencer will publish their trading statements in the next few days.

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