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Today’s news in brief-23/2/24

Consumer confidence in the UK dropped by two points to reach -21 in February, according to the GfK index. The survey highlighted decreases in various measures compared to the previous month, including personal finances and the country’s economic situation over the past year. However, there was no change in the forecast for personal finances in the next 12 months, while the outlook for the UK economy declined slightly. Despite the overall decrease, optimism regarding personal finances for the upcoming year remained higher than the previous year.

Sports Direct has inaugurated its fourth flagship store in Cardiff, Wales, focusing on outdoor categories. The expansive 60,000 sq. ft store across three floors offers a range of outdoor brands and interactive shopping experiences. The store features technologies like digital mannequins and innovative product finders, providing customers with an immersive shopping experience.

Despite a 15% increase in sales to £556m in 2023, Gymshark experienced a significant decrease in pre-tax profits, which halved to £13m. The activewear company attributed its sales growth to product quality and relevance. Gymshark announced its first wholesale partnership with Selfridges and plans for international expansion, including a pop-up store in New York and entry into the Dubai market.

Shein is reportedly expanding its presence in the UK by onboarding suppliers previously associated with Boohoo. The fast-fashion retailer has initiated discussions with these suppliers as part of its expansion strategy, potentially eyeing a flotation on the London Stock Exchange. Shein’s focus on rapid expansion includes key appointments like Gemma Dunne as chief product officer and plans to establish a UK-centric brand, leveraging Manchester-based operations.

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Inditex, the parent company of Zara, is expanding its budget brand Lefties to compete with fast-fashion rivals like Shein. Lefties offers affordable clothing options, catering to a wide audience across various markets. The expansion of Lefties reflects Inditex’s strategy to maintain a foothold in the value segment of the market while enhancing profits at Zara.

Despite concerns about inflation, UK consumers are projected to spend £1.7bn on Mother’s Day, indicating a slight increase compared to the previous year. However, price sensitivity remains a significant factor for shoppers, with many opting for gifts under £20. Popular gift choices include food items and flowers, prompting retailers to highlight affordable options. Grocery stores are well-positioned to benefit from consumers seeking budget-friendly gifts, with exclusive offers and discounts driving higher spending.

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