Europe's shoppers are focusing on cheaper goods and essentials, despite policymakers' best efforts to boost spending, resulting in the best ever Christmas for British supermarket group J. Sainsbury, but hitting specialists like German DIY chain Praktiker.
Women's-apparel chain New York & Co Inc (NWY.N) said it will cut about 12 percent of its management jobs, close about 40 to 50 stores underperforming stores and reduce spending as part of its restructuring efforts.
Paris shoppers filed into stores on the first day of the winter sales on Wednesday but the crowd was thinner than previous years as economic worries and unusually cold weather held back many deal-hunters.
Retailer Marks & Spencer said on Wednesday it was cutting 1,230 jobs after a sharp fall in sales, and job losses in the financial sector added to pressure on the Bank of England to cut interest rates to a record low.
Fashion retailer New Look said underlying UK sales rose 2.8 percent in the 14 weeks to January 3 and that it planned to invest in new stores in 2009 despite an expected deterioration in market conditions.
Shoppers are set to storm Paris streets on Wednesday for the start of the winter sales, with department stores such as Printemps slashing prices by up to 80 percent to offload stock after grim Christmas trading.
John Lewis, the employee-owned group seen as a barometer of retail spending, said on Friday sales surged at both its department stores and upmarket grocery chain in the days before and after Christmas.
Struggling UK retailer JJB Sports (JJB.L) announced a management reshuffle, promoting retail veteran David Jones to executive chairman and recruiting a former head of department store Selfridges to oversee strategy.
Not since at least 1970 has holiday shopping in the United States posted such dismal numbers, according to data released on Tuesday that was likely to prompt retailers to curtail their business even more in 2009.