People walk past a business advertising a closing down sale in central London December 5, 2012. British finance minister George Osborne said on Wednesday he would break a key debt promise and warned that growth would be weaker than expected in a bleak outlook that could damage his party's hopes of winning a 2015 election.

John Lewis and Next join the growing list of retailers and restaurants that have warned of a consumer slowdown;
A consumer spending freeze could be disastrous for the UK economy, with over two-third of growth coming from household spending;
Problems set to continue with inflation at its highest level since Brexit vote, squeezing incomes.

LONDON — The UK economy is in pain and it is the retailers who have been crying out first.

Major UK retailers John Lewis and Next became the latest shops to warn of a slowdown in consumer spending on Thursday, in yet another sign of a serious slowdown in household spending that could be disastrous for the UK economy.

John Lewis Group, which owns the eponymous department store and upmarket supermarket Waitrose, on Thursday warned that future profits are likely to be hit by the current “difficult market.”

Chairman Sir Charlie Mayfield says in a statement: “We expect the headwinds that have dampened consumer demand and put pressure on margins to continue into next year.”

The warning came as it reported a 53% fall in profits last year, as weak demand, currency fluctuations, and big investment in reorganizing its business hit the bottom line.

High Street stalwart Next, meanwhile, managed a profit …read more

Source:: Businessinsider – Finance

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