Breakingviews

UK retail fails to weather the patently obvious

September 30, 2014

Clothes shop Next says Britain has had an unseasonably warm September. Who knew? Shares across the sector took fright at the ramifications for earnings. Investors may be venting other fears, maybe of a price war. Still, the reaction reveals a bizarrely inefficient market.

Tesco’s ambitions earthed by UK retail reality

By Edward Hadas
January 13, 2012

Britain’s largest grocer disappointed with a 2.3 percent decline in like-for-like UK sales over Christmas. The lesson: it’s tough to grow profitably in a crowded market with depressed consumers. But while Tesco is clearly down, its model is not fundamentally flawed.

No wind in these sales

October 14, 2009

Families have levels of debt that remain stubbornly high and are still close to twice the peak of the 1980s boom. Yet consumers have returned to saving just 3 percent of disposable income. At such a snail's pace it will take roughly 9 years to bring household debt down to a more reasonable level of around 100 percent of disposable income.