of American retail stocks, which fell on Thursday after initial weekly jobless claims unexpectedly climbed in another sign the job market recovery remains uneven.
Also European stocks slip in early trade as a report saying Chinese monthly inflation will be higher than expected reignites monetary tightening worries.
Burberry was one of the stocks in the spotlight after launching a memorable party to celebrate its bet for China. Company´s latest update, covering the third quarter to 31 December, posted underlying growth of well over 30% excluding a contribution from an increasing involvement in China. Celebrations reached markets, where Burberry shares closed 0.17% upper than the previous day.
Peter Cowgill, chief executive of branded sportswear company JD Sports, warned that his customers are beginning to suffer from public spending cuts, wage freezes and high inflation. Company´s first executive said trying to shield JD Sports' customers from the full effects of the rise in VAT from 17.5pc to 20pc would cost the company £16m this year. "The fact is that any retailer who takes the same money through the tills this year as last year will pass a significantly greater slice to the Treasury," he said.
Cowgill warned that the increase in VAT, high inflation and depressed wages had left consumers with less money in their pockets. Thursday its titles were trading down and closed slightly lower than Wednesday.
Still in the UK, Debenhams said Chief Executive Officer Rob Templeman plans to leave in September after first-half earnings rose 4.5 percent and the company restored its dividend. So-called headline pretax profit increased to 129.2 million pounds ($211 million) in the 26 weeks ended Feb. 26 from 123.6 million pounds a year earlier, the London-based retailer said in a statement. That compares with the 126.4 million-pound average estimate of nine analysts compiled by Bloomberg. Debenhams said it intends to pay an interim dividend of 1 penny a share.