Wincanton warns over retail squeeze

The squeeze on high spending is set to inflict further pain on parts of haulage firm Wincanton in the coming year, it warned today.

The group, which includes Sainsbury’s, WH Smith and Tesco among its high profile customers, said conditions in the retail and consumer goods sectors were set to remain challenging.

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Shares fell 10 per cent as analysts cut their forecasts for the year ahead after Wincanton warned some of its businesses would be hit as their customers suffer a drop in demand, leaving it with excess space in its warehouses.

Wincanton, which last year sold its mainland European operations to focus on the UK and Ireland as part of a turnaround plan, said contract wins and cost cutting measures helped it perform in-line with expectations in the year to the end of last month.

But the group, which employs some 26,000 people, said it was continuing to review its options to bring down its debt.