9 Nov 2008

Warehouse sales down

11:47 am on 9 November 2008

Sales at The Warehouse fell in the first quarter due to subdued consumer spending.

New Zealand's largest listed retailer, which has 85 Red Sheds, says sales fell over 2% to $366.6 million dollars in the October quarter.

Sales at stores open at least a year fell 2.3%. After adjusting for Labour Day, same store sales declined 1.6%.

Chief executive, Ian Morris says spending on big ticket items like appliances and outdoor furniture slowed; though sales of clothing, and home entertainment products, like DVDs, held up.

He says he remains cautious about the crucial Christmas period, when retailers make the bulk of profits.

The Warehouse recently abandoned a foray into offering groceries, intensifying speculation that the Woolworths and Foodstuffs supermarket groups will renew their takeover bids for the retailer.