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Christmas 'could Be The Worst In 25 Years'

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Christmas 'could be the worst in 25 years'


One of the City's leading analysts has warned that the retail sector could be facing the "worst Christmas for 25 years".

Analysts had been predicting an upbeat Christmas for retailers - with sales forecast to be 3pc higher than in 2003. But Richard Ratner, retail analyst at Seymour Pierce, is now warning of dire trading in the run-up to the crucial trading period, when many retailers make the majority of their profits.

"We now believe that Christmas in 2006 will be worse than 2005 and could be as difficult as, or even softer than 2004, which was the worst Christmas for 23 years. If the latter is the case, it will make it the worst for 25 years," he wrote in a note to clients.


Mr Ratner argues that the recent downturn in high street sales could not be blamed on the unseasonal weather. Consumers, he believes, have been hit hard by higher interest rates, fuel bills and council tax rises.

"The last two weeks appear to have been something worse than a disaster for the 'clothing boys'. We are hearing suggestions that the bulk of the trade was down between 10pc-20pc in this period," said Mr Ratner, who believes that Next and Debenhams have been particularly hard hit by the downturn.

Edited by King Of Fools
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