Snow-hit retailers see FTSE drop


The FTSE 100 opened down by 35.2 points to 5978.7

Retail shares are under the weather after Next and HMV disclosed the financial impact of recent snow disruption on pre-Christmas sales.

Marks & Spencer and Primark owner Associated British Foods dropped 2% as Next said the weather cost it £22 million or 2.2% of sales and music chain HMV reported a 13.6% drop in like-for-like sales in the UK and Ireland.

The retail pressure came during a difficult session for the wider market, with the FTSE 100 Index down by 35.2 points to 5978.7 as investors booked profits following Monday’s strong start to the year.

Miners were responsible for much of the decline after a reversal of recent gains in commodity prices.

The fallers board was topped by Marks & Spencer, which declined 9.6p to 264.8p, while AB Foods eased 25p to 1139p and B&Q owner Kingfisher declined 5.6p to 261.4p.

The fall in Next shares was limited to a drop of 1p to 2014p after it revealed it remained on track to improve profits in the year to the end of January.

There was no such reprieve for HMV, which slumped 23% after the latest disappointing sales figures fuelled City speculation over the future of the chain.

With the company warning it faced a battle to meet a banking covenant test in April, shares fell 7.75p to 24.75p and left HMV with a market value of just over £100 million.

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