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UK retail winners and losers

We’ve had a lot of trading updates in the last week or so from UK retailers and, overall, the sector didn’t do as universally badly as everyone had been predicting before Christmas.

I remember saying at the time that sentiment was SO negative across the entire sector that the risk was most definitely on the upside and that shares of companies who happened to do well would get very well rewarded.

This has proved to be the case and, generally speaking, companies that were already looking a bit shaky had a bad festive season – with a few exceptions.

Debenhams, Mothercare, Halfords and Footasylum reported downbeat trading statements although DFS and Dunelm who had had problems earlier in the year appeared to turn things around a bit.

Another notable exception was Ted Baker which tanked on allegations of the founder being overly touchy-feely with his staff. This clothing retailer actually had a pretty good Christmas and so its share price bounced back strongly.

More recent statements showed strength for online retailer Boohoo and Games Workshop, but any euphoria would have to be tempered with M&S announcing a list of 17 further store closures and news of Paperchase calling in KPMG to advise them on survival options.

It’s a tough market, but it IS still possible to profit.

Ford links up with Volkswagen

Secondly, Ford and VW announced a new alliance at the Detroit Auto Show that will encompass autonomous vehicles, mobility services and electric vehicles.

It’s the biggest of its kind in the industry and Ford’s CEO even said that VW could be building Ford-branded cars in Europe in future.

Given the global slowdown in car sales and the cost of complying with increasingly onerous emissions regulations, I would expect to hear about more alliances and technology sharing in the coming months and years as the whole industry braces itself for a trend where less people own cars.

Please note this article does not constitute investment advice. Investors are encouraged to do their own research beforehand or consult a professional advisor.

Peter Watson

Peter Watson

Peter Watson founded Seiha Consulting, a career transition consultancy, after working in HR and four recruitment agencies. He was also a stockbroker for 13 years in London and Tokyo, advising some of the world’s biggest financial institutions on European and Japanese stock market investment. He started writing the Daily (previously known as “Watson’s WIFI”) to help candidates prepare for interviews – but soon found that many others wanted to read it as well!


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