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Guest wrongmove

D I Y Sell-off Increases Gloom Settling On High Street

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Guest wrongmove

Investor’s sell-off increases gloom settling on high street

"The decision of an unknown investor to dump 57 million shares in Kingfisher, the DIY chain, this week has given an extra edge to the paranoia already infecting the retail sector.

The high-priced bulky goods, such as kitchens and bathrooms, that Kingfisher’s B&Q store sells are usually the first to feel the impact of a slowdown in consumer spending.

The mystery investor’s call on the market, combined with gloomy comments from the British Retail Consortium that four recent interest rate rises were beginning to affect overall sales figures, confirmed to many that the retail market had reached its peak.

Tony Shiret, an analyst at Credit Suisse, said: “I think we have already reached the top of the market. Most retailers we speak to have been experiencing some form of trading problem over the last couple of months and retail demand has been subdued for quite some time.”

Certainly recent figures from Woolworths, Marks & Spencer, Next, Carpetright and SCS have shown a slowdown in sales in the first few months of this year, and many retailers are not hopeful of a pickup in spending for the foreseeable future.

Worse news for retailers is that, as a note from analysts at Morgan Stanley published this week pointed out, while consumer spending as a proportion of GDP has remained pretty constant since the 1960s, the amount of spending via retailers has fallen consistently. ........"

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