Owner of Robert Dyas and former Dragon's Den star Theo Paphitis has warned retailers that they are facing a “perfect storm” this year as his retail group posted its full year results.
Turnover at Robert Dyas fell by 4.4% for the 2016 sales period. Mr Paphitis also saw a decline for his stationery business Ryman which dropped revenue by 2.5%, though his lingerie retailer Boux Avenue grew sales by 21.5%.
He said, “Working with heritage brands Ryman and Robert Dyas that have both been around for over a century, the pace of change is more challenging and opportunistic than ever. Having started the Boux Avenue business only five years ago, even in this relatively short space of retail history, we have seen our business plan adjusted to take into account the momentous changes in shoppers' habits.
“Retail, especially within bricks and mortar in the UK, is facing the perfect storm. As mentioned above, changes in consumer habits, the impact of the weaker pound against the dollar and euro, coupled with increasing labour costs, the apprenticeship levy and the sucker punch in the lack of an honest and equitable reform of what is an archaic system of business rates.
“The facts are that footfall and activity on our high streets and town centres are in decline but businesses like ours are about to see an overall increase instead of decrease in their rates bill in the next 12 months.”
Speaking of his businesses' results, he added, “Once again, we observed the further shift of our customers to purchasing online with growth in this channel across the group being over 50% ahead of last year.”