High street gloom: which chains are feeling the pain?

New Look

Number of shops: 593

Employees: 15,300

The fashion chain is planning to close 60 shops and asking for rent reductions on more after sales fell and it slumped to a pretax loss last year. The retailer has lost out to Asos and Boohoo and alienated shoppers by putting up prices and becoming too young and edgy.


Number of shops: 409 (UK)

Employees: 2700 (UK)

The flooring specialist could close up to 100 stores and wants rent reductions on others. It is set to make a pretax loss this year after the housing market slowdown and tough competition from growing rival Tapi – set up by the son of Carpetright’s founder Lord Harris. Shares have dived about 75% since mid Januaryas a result of two profits warnings.

Carpetright, Moss Bros and Kingfisher hit by high street retail woes

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Moss Bros

Number of shops: 128

Employees: 1,350

Men’s suits chain Moss Bros has warned that profits this year will be “materially lower” than the City was expecting because it was short of stock as a result of changing suppliers to offset higher costs caused by the fall in the value of the pound. The company’s shares crashed 20% as it warned the high street was quiet and shoppers more cautious.


Number of shops: UK – 147 Mothercare, 120 Early Learning Centre (and more than 1,100 outlet overseas, with partners)

Employees: 5,200

Mothercare has made losses for seven years in the UK as it is squeezed by tough competition from supermarkets and online rivals and rising costs. It had a bad Christmas and is now in talks with its bankers to restructure its finances and has called in KPMG for help. The shares have collapsed from 295p three years ago to just 16p now.


Number of shops: 296 B&Q and 577 Screwfix

Employees: 25,000

DIY group Kingfisher’s share price dived nearly 9% yesterday as it said sales of expensive items – like kitchens – had slowed and the outlook in the UK was “uncertain.” The UK has fallen out of love with DIY and B&Q’s sales were down about 5% – but the City is most worried about a slowdown in growth at trade supplier Screwfix to 7% in the last three months of the year and more than 16% in the preceding nine months.


House of Fraser is in negotiations with landlords in an attempt to get rid of up to 30% of its space by handing back sections of stores to landlords or closing some altogether. The group’s Chinese owner Sanpower has just sold a 51% controlling stake to a little-known tourist group called Wuji Wenhua but there are mounting concerns about the chain’s future as it struggles to find the cash to adapt to changing shopping habits.

Debenhams has cut jobs and is also considering closing stores after a disappointing Christmas, while Marks & Spencer has announced plans to close at least 30 stores.