Profits pain in bruising year for the High Street 


Bruising year for the High Street as a third of retailers were forced to put out profit warnings in 2019

  • 32 listed firms in the FTSE Retailer index warned on profits last year 
  • Debenhams, Ted Baker and Halfords were among them
  • Number is lower than in 2018, when 36 retailers issued profit warnings

A third of retailers were forced to put out profit warnings in 2019 in another punishing year for Britain’s high streets.

Debenhams, Ted Baker and Halfords were among the 32 listed firms in the FTSE Retailer index that had to tell investors they would bring in less money than expected.

Although this was 11 per cent lower than in 2018, when 36 issued profit warnings, the figures from accounting firm EY showed.

Debenhams, Ted Baker and Halfords were some of the firms that issued profit warnings in 2019

Debenhams, Ted Baker and Halfords were some of the firms that issued profit warnings in 2019

But EY warned that the number could already be on the rise in 2020.

In the first two weeks of this year, as many companies – four – had put out profit warnings than they had in the final three months of 2019.

Lisa Ashe, restructuring partner at EY, said ‘intense promotional activity’ hamstrung the sector last year, with shops forced to cut prices to lure in customers who were already reining in their spending.

High costs, such as business rates, are crippling bricks-and-mortar stores.

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