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News from UK High Street retailers and businesses is recorded below in chronological order, most recent at the top. Breaking news, if any, is listed first, followed by older news items. The latest recent and interesting 2 or 3 articles are also shown on the High.St home page.
Cadbury Dairy Milk products have been recalled from high street shelves after a very small risk of salmonella was identified following discovery of a leaking pipe at one factory.
24 June 2006
The Link chain, already partly owned by O2, will be fully subsumed into the O2 group to make it the second largest high street mobile phone retailer after Carphone Warehouse.
21 June 2006
HMV, who also own Waterstones will be buying Ottakar's after months of speculation. Ottakar's sales had been declining in the face of supermarket and Internet competition so this take-over was considered a fair deal.
31 May 2006
Vodafone announced losses of £14.9bn, a UK record. One-off costs accounted for most of the loss and, excluding these, Vodafone made a profit. 400 jobs are to be cut and there are challenges but the business is healthy said a spokesman.
30 May 2006
Tesco said all its carrier bags would be bio-degradable by September and aimed to reduce consumption by 25% over the next 2 years.
11 May 2006
French Connection issued its third consecutive profits warning after a 2% fall in like-for-like sales since January. A controversial advertising blitz had not helped.
10 May 2006
Tesco reported a 17% rise in profits this year to £2.25bn. £100m is to be invested in environmental technology.
25 April 2006
Sales on the High Street for the first quarter were down but March saw growth of 0.7%. Hopefully a sign of better times to come.
25 April 2006
Dixons is to rebrand all its High Street stores as 'Currys.digital'. The Dixons name will be retained for the Internet trading side of the business.
5 April 2006
Jessops saw like-for-like sales in the first quarter of 2006 rise by 2.6% and were upbeat as digital camera sales had been strong.
31 March 2006
Boots sales were up 3.3% in the final quarter and Sainsbury's recovery was also above expectations; however, Woolworths said it was still finding trading tough on the high street.
30 March 2006
Ottakar's takeover by HMV was approved by the Competition Commission who said that book prices were unlikely to change due to the presence of on-line retailers like Amazon. Strange, we thought HMV also owns Waterstones and www.waterstones.co.uk takes you to the Amazon site!
30 March 2006
Dame Anita Roddick has agreed to sell the The Body Shop chain to L'Oreal in a multi-million pound deal. Dame Anita said the Body Shop's ethics would not change and L'Oreal pledged to retain the brand and run the company independently.
18 March 2006
John Lewis made a pre-tax profit of £252M last year, 10% higher than last year. Staff will share in the profits as reward for their hard work through a generally difficult period for retailers.
10 March 2006
High Street shops won a small victory today. Supermarket dominance is to be investigated after reports of some items being sold at below cost price and land banking to deter rivals.
9 March 2006
An all party group of MPs have published their report, 'High Street Britain: 2015' in which they recommend the setting up of a retail regulator to prevent the erosion of the high street and our 'social glue'. Comment. We don't think regulation will work, what is needed is for the Government to level the playing field. For years town centre business rates have been a golden goose for councils but in today's climate these disproportionate charges suck the life blood out of small businesses and create a huge barrier to new businesses. High Streets could be revitalised if shops in the heart of our town didn't pay a premium over out-of-town, mainly large store, developments. Lower rates would allow businesses to compete more favourably on price and maintain the social glue of our communities.
15 February 2006
John Lewis has been voted shopper's favourite store after several years in the runner up slot. In it's wake were: Waitrose, TK Maxx and Matalan, with last year's favourite Ikea in fifth and Amazon in sixth.
23 January 2006
Tesco reported strong growth and record sales for the Christmas period. Price cuts were good for Tesco shoppers but were met with dismay by high street shops who struggle to compete.
18 January 2006
Good News has been reported for the High Street over Christmas. Several stores, such as John Lewis, M&S, Jessops and fatface, reported increased sales. Many thought it the best festive trading in 4 years.
10 January 2006
A leaked report by MPs suggests that if supermarkets continue to expand at their current rate the corner shop will be history by 2015. www.High.St continues to support our traditional high street and small shops in particular by offering them an affordable web presence. Contact us for more details.
Next expects profits to be better than expected following some strong Christmas trading.
4 January 2006
Shops reported strong sales in the week up to Christmas and this continued on Boxing Day but the cold weather then seems to have put off shoppers resulting in a 12% fall in sales for the full week following Christmas Day.
3 January 2006
High street stores are facing greater competition from the Internet this year. Fuelled by an increase in broadband, nearly two in 5 of us will buy some Christmas presents from the web compared with one in 5 in 2001. Of course www.High.St continues to provide the best solution whichever way you prefer to shop!
9 December 2005
The cold weather is thought to have been partly responsible for the first rise in monthly retail sales for 8 months. The modest rise in November is welcome but overall sales from September to end November were still down slightly on 2004.
6 December 2005
The Microsoft Xbox 360 was launched in Europe today amongst criticism of faults and supply shortages. Amazon customers in particular were unhappy that machines had not been delivered but the problem is widespread.
5 December 2005
John Lewis reported a 5.8% increase in sales over the same period last year for the week to 19 November, the fifth week of growth. Aberdeen was the leading store with nearly a 15% increase.
26 November 2005
Work is set to start on a project to turn Aberdeen into one of the UK's top shopping destinations. The Union Square complex will be complete in 2007 and could be followed with the Bon Accord Quarter by 2010; linking the Bon Accord and St Nicholas centres.
24 November 2005
M&S have signed a new agreement with George Davies, the man behind the Per Una range, just one month after he announced his resignation. The group also announced a 19.6% rise in half year profits and said it would speed up its store modernisation programme.
8 November 2005
Primark revealed a 12% rise in annual profits, bucking the general trend on th high street. Primark have 122 shops across the country selling fashion clothing at low prices.
9 November 2005
Matalan reported a 6.3% drop in like-for-like high street sales in the 6 months to the end of August and expected conditions would remain difficult.
2 November 2005
JD Sports has bought all:sports for £18m. all:sports went into administration last month and has since made 1,300 staff redundant. JD Sports will keep some stores and take on the company's debt.
31 October 2005
The John Lewis store in Aberdeen continued to be the group's best performing store with strong sales compared with the same period last year.
12 October 2005
M&S reported a welcome rise in overall sales for the 12 weeks to 1 October but there was only a marginally increase in clothing. The previous 7 quarters had all seen falls. M&S and George Davies, the man originally behind the Per Una range, failed to reach a new contractual agreement but the line will continue.
11 October 2005
Sales of Harry Potter have exceeded 300 million across high streets worldwide. The books have been translated into 63 languages.
5 October 2005
Boots and Alliance Unichem have announced their intention to merge. The merger is subject to approval from the Competition Commission and will give the new company 15% of the UK pharmacy market.
3 October 2005
Boots stated that they are not expecting a significant improvement in sales later in the year. This affected their share price and was partially responsible for a subdued days trading on the stock market.
29 September 2005
M&S sales of the Per Una brand have been good but, despite buying full control of the brand last year, they may part company with the brand's founder, George Davies, if he demands an excessive share of the returns.
26 September 2005
High Street sales continue to be poor this summer. Nearly a half of the retailers report worse figures than last summer with only a quarter saying sales volumes are better. The CBI said the outlook remains bleak.
30 August 2005
Ottakar's the bookstore may be sold. There is interest from its own management, who want to take it private, and HMV, which owns Waterstone's.
26 August 2005
The Royal Mail will charge postage on size as well as weight from September 2006. Whilst big light packages will be more expensive to post, small heavier objects will cost less. The Royal Mail will not make any extra profit from the change and there will be no price difference for 70% of mail.
18 August 2005
Dixons has decided to stop selling 35mm film cameras after nearly 70 years. The popularity of digital cameras has led to the decision.
8 August 2005
Time and Tiny computer stores and others supplied by Granville Technology have been closed from today following the collapse of the parent company. High Street computer sales are now ruled by PCWorld and the small independents although mail order remains a good option for buyers.
27 July 2005
Scotland's High Streets are doing better than those in England. The latest monthly figures show Scotland had an increase of 2.4% over the same period last year. One reason given for the better figures is the more stable house prices across Scotland.
20 July 2005
Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince broke all records and sold more than 9 million copies in the first 24 hours of its launch.
18 July 2005
Associated British Foods (ABF) is to buy 120 Littlewoods stores. Some will become Primark shops but others will be sold off to other High Street retailers.
12 July 2005
Tesco continue to increase their share of the market. Mainly at the expense of Morrisons, Tesco now has over a 30% share.
30 June 2005
The high street had more bad news yesterday following a CBI survey that showed the biggest fall in sales since records began 22 years ago. The position appears worse due to strong sales in June 2004 but is still not good news. Many shops have started their summer sales early and a drop in interest rates is hoped for.
30 June 2005
Amazon is the public's favourite on-line retailer for customer satisfaction, price, purchase process and site performance. Shoppers are increasingly turning to the Internet to research prices and buy online according to the IMRG. There is no better time to have the best of both worlds by regularly visiting www.High.St
25 May 2005
New Look is the third largest retailer of ladies fashions in UK with profits before interest and tax up by around 40% this year. Unlike beleaguered Marks & Spencer whose full year pre-tax profit fell by 19%.
24 May 2005
William Hill is now the biggest bookmakers on the high street after the purchase of 624 outlets from Stanley at £504m.
16 May 2005
100 high street bank branches, including 60 Clysesdale and 40 Yorkshire bank branches are being closed by their parent company, the National Australia Bank.
11 May 2005
Sales on the high street during April were the worst for 10 years. The early Easter holiday break in March, election uncertainties and weak house sales, which in turn have led to a reduced demand for consumer products are thought to be contributory factors.
10 May 2005
Specsavers the high street opticians plan to double the number of outlets providing their Hearcare range of hearing aids to 100 this year.
2 May 2005
WH Smith half-year profits to 28 February have leapt 32% compared with the same period last year. This is welcome news for the 667 High Street outlets.
21 April 2005
Index are to close 126 of its stores and sell a further 33 to rival Argos. 93 outlets in department stores will disappear and the floor space returned to Littlewoods. Up to 3,200 jobs could be lost. The move has come after 18 years of losses.
17 April 2005
Woolworths shares plunged 25% yesterday after Apax Partners dropped their bid.
15 April 2005
No buyer has been found for the Gadget Shop chain so remaining stores will now have to close with the loss of 620 jobs.
15 April 2005
Tesco profits have risen again and broken through the £2bn mark, a first for any UK retailer. Almost one in three shoppers spend money in Tesco supermarkets and the store's range of CDs, electrical products and clothing have contributed to declining sales for other high street shops.
12 April 2005
Marks & Spencer experienced another drop in like-for-like sales over the last quarter. Other retailers have also reported difficult trading conditions on the high street.
12 April 2005
Ottakar's pre-tax profits for the last financial year to 29 Jan 05 were up 16%. Unfortunately sales were down 1.6% in the first 7 weeks of 2005 compared with this time last year.
29 March 2005
Jessops shares slumped after the company issues a profits warning due primarily to poor sales of digital cameras.
21 March 2005
Jenners, the oldest department store in Britain has been sold to the House of Fraser.
21 March 2005
Gadget Shop, with 65 High St outlets is going into administration. However, the reasons are not thought to be financial but due to boardroom differences. Therefore, there are hopes that the chain can be sold as a going concern.
14 March 2005
Boots Finance Director has resigned, 2 weeks after the company issued a profits warning.
14 March 2005
The Bank of England left interest rates at 4.75% for the seventh month in a row despite some concerns about the continuing rise in house prices.
10 March 2005
Boots the Chemist saw its shares fall by 4% on the news of lower than expected annual profits. Trading since a good Christmas period has been slow and Boots continues to lose business to the supermarkets.
1 March 2005
Online shopping has reached record highs with £1 in every £7 now being spent on goods delivered to the door. Websites like High.St provide the best of both worlds.
21 February 2005
Supermarkets across the country have been removing food products that could contain an illegal dye. The Food Standards Agency has advised people not to eat foods that may have been contaminated. Products from all supermarkets from Asda to Waitrose are affected. A full list of foods can be found on the FSA website (list now removed).
18 February 2005
Debenhams is to buy eight stores from the collapsed High Street retailer Allders. All eight are located in the South of England.
14 February 2005
Amazon took over 100,000 advance orders in the first 24 hours for the new Harry Potter book due out in July. Order you copy of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince from Amazon.
10 February 2005
Ikea's new store in North London closed 30 minutes after opening following a surge in customers, many pushing in front of people who had queued overnight. Six people were taken to hospital. Ikea was deeply shocked, upset and concerned.
10 February 2005
Barclays published record profits today. This rise of 20% to £4.6bn was in line with expectations.
10 February 2005
The High Street Sales failed to make up for the poor showing by many stores over the Christmas period. Sales were up on the same period last year but by just 0.5%. Shoppers were particularly reluctant to buy bigger ticket items, such as furniture.
8 February 2005
An ICM survey for Retail Week found that 40% were quite worried about the expansion of supermarkets at the expense of High Street shops and a further 19% were very worried.
6 February 2005
Ann Summers now have a turnover of £110m from their 117 High Street shops. Ann Summers favour the term 'Pleasure Retailer' and shoppers are certainly less coy about going through the doors.
1 February 2005
Woolworths shares shot up on talk of a possible offer from Apax Partners, the private equity group.
1 February 2005
ONS figures indicated that the 2004 Christmas sales on the High Street were the worst since 1981 but the picture is mixed. Volume was up and non-seasonally adjusted numbers were comparable with 2003. For every retailer saying sales were down, another was reporting an increase.
22 January 2005
Boots festive sales were up 2.6%. WH Smith experienced a 2% drop in its High Street stores but overall profitability for the year is up.
19 January 2005
Tesco and HMV both reported strong sales over the holiday period. Tesco's like-for-like sales, excluding petrol, increased by 7.6% whilst HMV's sales were ahead of expectations at 6.4%.
18 January 2005
Tesco have announced that they will open their first non-food store this year. No location or date have been given and Tesco said it was too early to say if further non-food stores would follow.
17 January 2005
Online shopping sales increased 6 times faster than did the rest of the High Street this Christmas. The UK public, helped by Broadband, is now realising the benefits envisaged, but not experienced, by many in the dot com era. There isn't a better time to join www.High.St than right now!
15 January 2005
Interest rates remain at 4.75% this month.
13 January 2005
Dixons reported a 2% rise in Christmas sales in better news from the High Street.
13 January 2005
High Street sales figures during December were the worst for 10 years, say the British Retailer Consortium. Food and drink held up but most other areas were down but not by as much as some predicted. Total sales actually increased by 2.5% but the like-for-like sales, which excludes new stores, were 0.4% down.
11 January 2005
The High Street retailer Marks & Spencer has said like-for-like sales were down 5.6% over the Christmas period. They expect annual pre-tax profits to be lower than most analysts had been predicting.
7 January 2005
Ottakar's saw a like-for-like sales rise of 2.2% over Christmas but this was lower than the 3.5% rise seen over the second half of 2004. Shares fell 13% following a profit warning.
6 January 2005
Laura Ashley's chief executive has followed the co-chief exec in stepping down from the company.
6 January 2005
Next also suggested its annual profit will be down following slow end-of-year sales figures. Shares in the High Street retailer fell 3% on the news.
5 January 2005
Woolworths reported disappointing sales in the run up to Christmas; particularly of toys and DVDs. In contrast New Look increased sales by nearly 19% in the last 14 weeks of the year over the same period in 2003.
5 January 2005
HSBC returned to near normality today after many customers had problems withdrawing cash from high st dispensers and using their credit cards yesterday. The website was still giving some problems earlier today but this was probably due to heavy demand said a spokesperson.
4 January 2005
Cupar in Fife has been added today.
30 December 2004
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince is due to be in High street shops from 16 July 2005. Buy from Amazon.
29 December 2004
Tesco continues to go from strength to strength and now has a record 28.7% share of the grocery sector. Asda and Sainsbury had minor gains whilst Morrisons/Safeway appears to be the main loser this month.
17 December 2004
Interest rates will remain at 4.75% for the fourth month in a row. Good news for everyone on the High St!
9 December 2004
Supplies on the High Street of Sony's Playstation 2 have been held up by a shipping log jam in the Suez Canel. Sony are flying in additional supplies so machines will be filtering through to the high street.
6 December 2004
The Incredibles is set to be the Number 1 Christmas movie on the High St this Christmas. Just released in the UK, The Incredibles is another great film from the Disney Pixar studios.
4 December 2004
The UK reached its highest level of visits to Internet online retail sites this week. High Street retailers have all seen big increases, Argos, Tesco, Comet, Currys and Woolworths have all boosted their market share within the retail sector by 40% since October.
1 December 2004
There are some reports that Retailers are facing a tough Christmas and may have to start their sales early to reach their sales targets. The shops look busy enough to us and there are few signs of significant discounts. Late Christmas shoppers may benefit but don't hold your breath and keep watching this space!
27 November 2004
The VCR is dead! Long live DVD! Today Dixons announced that it was ending the sale of VCRs, probably before Christmas. New systems that record to a hard disc or DVD are also proving popular and are much more flexible than the old VCR.
22 November 2004
Clinton Cards is buying rival Birthdays Group for £46.4million in cash. Birthdays has about 500 stores across UK high streets which will be added to Clinton's 800 outlets.
18 November 2004