From our UK man:

Well, wadda ya' know?

To the surprise of no one but the city analysts and the more bullish city commentators Joe Public is keeping his hands in his pockets. This continuing trend (almost a habit now) is borne out by the latest sales data for UK high street, which shows an alarming fall: April sales were down 4.7%, the worst result on record.

Dixons the high street PC, mobile phone and household electrical retailer confirmed this trend in a results update out yesterday (11.05.05).

When will it stop? Well, not for a while as many low rate fixed mortgage deals have still to work their way through the system. This, combined with continuing manufacturing job losses and a general lack of confidence, means that there won't be a let up for a while.

Avoid.

[Editor]: (Belatedly?) Citigroup Smith Barney have lowered their forecasts across the retailing sector thus:

  • Sell Boots (target price cut to 550p from 575p);
  • Buy GUS (1025p price target), Marks & Spencer (price target cut to 370p from 390p), Next (target price cut to 1600p from 1700p) and Halfords (target price cut to 320p from 340p); and
  • Hold Kesa Electricals (target price cut to 255p from 300p), MFI Furniture (target price cut to 100p from 125p) and Woolworths (target price cut to 33p from 53p).

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