Mar 1, 2018

Carpetright and Toys R Us: floored by unwillingness of the people

For Toys R Us, Maplin, New Look, Prezzo and now Carpetright, that is the problem. February's 7 per cent fall in retail footfall was a tenth consecutive period of decline, according to Ipsos data. In 2015, net fund inflows were £13bn. In 2016, they fell to £1.1bn. On Thursday, Schroders reported 2017 inflows of £9.6bn. That's a 91 per cent decline followed by a 770 per cent rise. Pre-tax profit in 2017 rose 23 per cent, to £760m. Even in 2016 profit was up 5 per cent to £618m. This suggests Schroders' diversification across types of business - with wealth management added to asset management for institutions and intermediaries - is also helping to smooth performance, much as its geographical and strategy diversification does. Managing costs better only improves upon the economies of scale - and Mr Harrison's discipline on IT, data and travel expenses meant the ratio of total costs to net income fell from 64 per cent to 61 per cent last year.

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