More than half of 23 luxury brands including Louis Vuitton, Hermes and Jimmy Choo report slower tourist traffic at their stores in Paris, London and Milan, according to a Reuters survey. In Europe, Chinese tourists account for a third of luxury purchases, and travelers buy about 70% of high-end watches and jewellery.
Mothercare, Clinton Cards and other UK retailers said they struggled last month because of severe weather. Next cited the weather as a contributing factor in its sales decline, and HMV said the snow was a factor in its profit warning.
A recent survey of United Arab Emirates retailers found that most believe consumers are reducing their spending because of job losses, lower salaries and commissions. Some retailers also believe that local consumers are watching the global economy for trends and other clues.
The British Retail Consortium said the 1.2% increase in the national minimum wage is "the right decision for these difficult times". "The best protection for wages is preserving jobs to keep people working and earning, not handicapping employers with excessive new costs," said Stephen Robertson, BRC director general.
A study by Retail Systems Research found that 56% of retailers say consumers who use multiple channels, including in-store, online and catalogues, are more profitable than are other shoppers. Creating an effective cross-channel experience and a way to use the information continue to be challenges for retailers, however.