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April Easter sales see jump in retail figures

May '06
The CBI's monthly distributive trade survey for April has provided the best set of figures for 14 months.

The percentage balance of retailers reporting higher sales rose from minus 14 in March to plus 2 - although much of the increase has been attributed to Easter falling in April instead of March.

The British Retail Consortium has announced that UK shop prices were down by 1.28 per cent in the year to April, the sharpest rate of deflation for 15 months, whilst non-food and food prices fell by 0.1 per cent in April.

Clothing, fashion and personal care

House of Fraser has issued a statement confirming that it has received a "very preliminary approach" from a prospective suitor.

Several press reports suggested that the interest has come from Baugur, which holds a 9.5 per cent stake in House of Fraser.

A formal offer would be Baugur's second attempt to acquire House of Fraser after a previous stake building exercise in 2003.

Hobbs, backed by private equity group 3i, recorded record full-year profits after reporting a 31 percent rise in first-quarter sales. The company as 98 outlets across the UK.

On Thursday 4 May Debenhams stock launched at 195p, the lower end of the expected price range.

By placing the shares at 195p, the retailer gained a market capitalisation of £1.68bn, making it the biggest flotation in the UK in nearly 5 years.

Open trading begins Tuesday 9 May when the company will also have the option to sell a further 48.7mn shares as part of an over-allotment option.

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