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2018-12-17

The Guardian: "'Peak stuff', interest rates and a dollop of Brexit have retailers worried". Plus Hammerson worries


"The UK high street is suffering and now even online outlets are feeling the pinch"

Link to web site

"... Reports from retailers for November have been downbeat. Mike Ashley, the founder of Sports Direct, said the start of the Christmas period was 'unbelievably bad'. The monthly report from the payment company Visa found that spending in November was down for a second month. The online clothing firm, Asos sent share prices of the entire UK retail sector lower on Monday when it issued a profits warning after much worse than expected November sales.

"In truth, retailers have been hit by a number of disparate factors simultaneously. Factor number one is that during a period when budgets have been squeezed, consumers have put a higher priority on going out than they have on buying things, leading to speculation that the UK might have reached 'peak stuff'.

"Factor number two is the increased tendency for people to shop online, where the prices tend to be lower and parking is not a problem. Bricks-and-mortar retailers are having a really tough time, with footfall down and costs up."



Just Fancy That

"Shopping centre owner Hammerson has been accused of understating its true debt position through creative accounting. Hammerson has kept its headline loan-to-value (LTV) - the ratio of its debts to its assets - below its self-imposed 40% limit by accounting for its retail outlets business, which includes the popular Bicester Village, in a way that is the most flattering, rather than most appropriate, according to Barclays analyst Paul May." - Sunday Times

"Struggling shopping centre owner Hammerson is attempting to fill empty space by playing the traditional role of department stores, renting out concessions direct to small brands. With House of Fraser, Debenhams and even John Lewis under pressure, the owner of the Bullring in Birmingham and Brent Cross in London is faced with unoccupied property and so is seeking to assemble its own collection of fashion, beauty and food concessions on floors formerly used by department stores." - Sunday Telegraph


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