The re­tail stocks that re­main in fash­ion

The Daily Telegraph - Your Money - - FRONT PAGE -

Some ma­jor chains are still at­trac­tive de­spite the de­cline of the high street, pro­fes­sional in­vestors tells Harry Brennan

In towns through­out the coun­try, once-thriv­ing re­tail brands are clos­ing stores. On­line re­tail­ers have be­come hugely pop­u­lar, of­fer­ing low prices and the con­ve­nience of home de­liv­ery. Is the de­cline of the high street un­stop­pable? Depart­ment stores such as Wool­worths and Bri­tish Home Stores, which were once a fa­mil­iar fea­ture in many high streets, found them­selves un­able to evolve to meet the new chal­lenge.

Marks & Spencer re­cently an­nounced the clo­sure of a num­ber of stores and an­a­lysts have ques­tioned its abil­ity to re­tain its place in the FTSE 100 index in the long run; it only just made the cut in a reshuf­fle this week.

Two other high street sta­ples, Mother­care and Moss Bros, the tai­lor, were rel­e­gated to the FTSE Fledg­ling index for small com­pa­nies this week.

Years of ag­gres­sive ex­pan­sion, most notably on the part of Tesco, have left well-known brands spread too thinly, in sub­op­ti­mal lo­ca­tions, with large fixed costs.

Yet many cus­tomers still pre­fer to shop in bricks and mor­tar stores. And pro­fes­sional in­vestors say they can still find high street re­tail­ers worth in­vest­ing in.

Sacha Chor­ley, who runs mul­ti­as­set port­fo­lios for Quil­ter, the wealth man­ager, said: “There are still good com­pa­nies out there, in­clud­ing plenty that are bal­anc­ing their store

‘We think Tesco can dou­ble its profit mar­gin’

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