Monday, July 15

Supermarket sales fall below £100bn in price war



The major grocers’ revenues dropped by 3.1pc to £99bn in the last quarter, according to the latest figures from the Share Centre. Sales across the whole of the FTSE 350 also fell by 2.2pc to £341.7bn in the last three months.

However, while British companies sales are falling, it is expected that the slump in the pound will improve profits as around 40pc of British listed companies’ sales are declared in US dollars.

Companies with large overseas operations and exporters such as Vodafone, SAB Miller and Kingfisher will also benefit from sterling’s depreciation.

British company profits are also on the rise as a wave of multi-billion writedowns come to an end.

Food retailers are fighting against deflation

Around £89.7bn was written down in the last quarter, the lowest level since 2008. Britain’s biggest retailer, Tesco, last year wiped £5bn from the value of its property but avoided the same humiliation this year, resulting in pre-tax profits jumping from a loss of £6.2bn in 2015to £162m.

Despite an improvement in profits, Helal Miah at The Share Centre warned that companies which are exposed to UK consumer spending such as retailers, housebuilders and the travel industry could face tougher times if confidence is eroded. “Profits in these sectors will be harder to come by in Brexit Britain”, said Mr Miah.

High street footfall continues to drop

Figures from the British Retail Consortium recently revealed that shoppers have so far shrugged off fears about the UK quitting the EU with spending rising last month. However, separate figures released today by the BRC and Springboard show that shop vacancy rates have risen to above 10pc.

High street retailers have been struggling against falling footfall as more people turn to online shopping.

Footfall in July was 0.4pc down on a year ago, although this was an improvement on the 2.8pc drop in June as major cities enjoyed a boost in international shoppers looking to take advantage of the weaker pound.

“The increase in the number of empty shops is an unwelcome reminder of the heavy burden of property costs”, said Helen Dickinson, chief executive of the BRC. “After a long run of shop vacancies being below 10pc, seeing them rise over that threshold once again will be a bitter disappointment to many.”