FTSE LIVE: Debenham’s profits plunge 84% as sales slip

Commenting on today’s ONS retail sales figures, Ben Perkins, head of consumer research at Deloitte, said:

March’s retail sales values (ex-fuel) fell by -0.3% on the previous month, with volume also down by -0.5%. Food preparations for the Easter weekend helped food sales although this was almost cancelled out by the impact of the weather.

‘Unsurprisingly, the effects of ‘The Beast from the East’ caused significant disruption across the sector, particularly for clothing, footwear and household goods, which continue to struggle. 

‘Significantly, online sales picked up some of the slack from the high street, and non-food sales reported a record high for the proportion of sales online, at 13.6%. Online sales now account for 17.4% of the retail market.

‘Looking ahead, April’s retail figures may suffer as a result of having an early, wet Easter weekend in 2018 against a warmer, later Easter in April 2017. That said, the improving weather may help consumers spring into action and delve into their pockets across the sector.

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