Sunday, 28 February 2010

Centre Court Shopping Centre now on TRdb

I popped into Centre Court this weekend to pick up a few things before my wife went away for the week so I thought I would put it on The Retail Database.

Its a nice place and doesn't seem to be struggling too much in the current economic environment.  Very few empty shops.

I took the picture below on my Android phone.

Link to the centre is here:

Centre Court Shopping Centre is located at the heart of Wimbledon in south west London. The shopping centre is named after the famous tennis court where the Wimbledon tennis championship is played.

The shopping centre is anchored by a medium sized Debenhams. Other stores include an H&M, Hotel Chocolat, Gap and Boots.

There are also two small format supermarkets in the centre a Tesco Metro and a Marks & Spencer simply food. 

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Revised GDP figures and economic forecasts

As expected the GDP was revised up to 0.3% in the final quarter of 2009 and could possibly be revised up further at the final reading.  The second reading is based upon 60% of the data needed to make a complete reading, compared to 40% for the first reading and 80% at the final reading.

For further information see:

It is interesting to note that 0.3% is within the forecast estimates given by economists before the first reading came out.  When the preliminary reading was 0.1% (outside of the forecast range) commentators in the press were quick to belittle the economics profession and the forecasts, questioning their competency.  I think it is probably time that economists questioned the competency of the press, who fail time and time again to understand statistics and their limitations.

Thursday, 25 February 2010

Worse business investment puts Q4 GDP revision in doubt...

Tomorrow's second reading of the Q4 GDP figure has been widely expected to show that the UK emerged from recession at a quicker pace than the 0.1% originally shown in the preliminary reading.

Although analysts weren't expected a dramatic change in the number, a reading of around 0.2% or 0.3% would have given them more comfort for the outlook of the recovery.

However, the likelihood of tomorrow's second reading showing an upwards revision was put in doubt today by news from the Office of National Statistics (ONS) showing business investment falling sharply in the final quarter of the year.  According to the Preliminary reading of business investment in Q4 2009, investment fell 5.8%, compared to a fall of 1.8% in Q3 2009.

Again a health warning must be placed on these figures as they are only preliminary readings and therefore are highly likely to be changed.

For more information:

There remains a good possibility that GDP will be revised up tomorrow.  Nevertheless these figures suggest that business was not yet confident enough to spend money in the final months of 2009 and were hoarding their cash in anticipation of things continuing to be bumpy in 2010.

Wednesday, 10 February 2010

Another sign of a better final quarter

Manufacturing output was reported to have grown strongly in the final month of 2009 which provides further evidence to suggest that the UK economy emerged from recession at a stronger than originally report pace in the  final quarter of last year.

In other news today the Bank of England continued to sound cautious on the outlook for GDP growth but warned that in the short term inflation would continue to rise.  This is not surprising given the rapid fall in prices twelve month's ago and rising VAT in January 2010.  They did not give much away as to when interest rates will start to rise...but the end of this year (November) is the best guess.

Tuesday, 9 February 2010

BRC Retail Sales for January

The British Retail Consortium (BRC) retail sales index for January was released today, showing like-for-like retail sales values falling 0.7% in January 2010 compared to the same month twelve month's earlier.

This is not a surprise given both the snow and the rise in VAT.  It is worth remembering that one month's data does not make a trend, particularly as the BRC index is a comparison with a single month twelve month's earlier.  If last year's sales were very good that month then this can make today's sales look disproportionately weak.

I personally would avoid this melodramatic statement:

Stephen Robertson, Director General, British Retail Consortium, said:

“An awful start to the year and in stark contrast to an upbeat December. This is the worst January sales growth in the 15 years we’ve been running the survey. It was a month of two halves with a focus on must-haves early on. The coldest January since 1987 boosted food sales at the start of the month, as shoppers stocked up. But food sales growth melted with the snow. The month as a whole was significantly weaker than December.

“Most non-food sectors had a poor start, though nearly all recovered towards the end of the month. Furniture and DIY were worst hit as customers put off buying non-essentials. The VAT change brought some sales forward to December, but customers are becoming cautious again in the face of economic and political uncertainty. Retailers will be hoping these results are mainly a snow induced blip, rather than an indication of further difficulties.”


Monday, 8 February 2010

Ethel Austen and Au Naturale in administration - job losses likely

Ethel Austin the clothing retailer and its sister homewear company Au Naturale have gone into administration.
Although the 276 stores will continue to trade as a bidder is sought, it is feared that some or possibly all of the 3,700 people employed by the company will lose there jobs.
Further details from the administrator can be found here:
As Carl Malways mentioned in his previous article about the outlook for retail sales February is likely to be the start of a weak and uncertain period for retailers.  If you would like to read the article it can be found here:

Thursday, 4 February 2010

End of Quantitative Easing?

The Bank of England announced today that it would put on hold its policy of Quantitative Easing.  The Bank has left the door open for starting the programme again, should the economic environment deteriorate.  Given the current economic environment, this is not likely. 

The Bank is unlikely to make few major announcements until after the General Election, but there is a good chance that interest rates may start to rise before the end of the year.

Wednesday, 3 February 2010

Retail Week Campaign

Retail Week has launched a campaign to bring politicians and retailers together in an attempt to solve some of the problems on the high street.