London - British department stores group Debenhams is cutting prices by up to 25%, in a sign retailers are increasingly nervous about the outlook for consumer spending.
Debenhams said on Tuesday it was lowering prices on "tens of thousands" of goods now in a bid to attract wary shoppers, rather than waiting to use discounting as a way of clearing stock at the end of the season.
"Many remain cautious due to the continuing, challenging economic climate following spending cuts and the 'will we, won't we?' double-dip recession debate," it said.
British retail sales values rose one percent year-on-year in August, an industry survey found on Tuesday.
But growth was boosted by discounting and analysts fear that steps to rein in government borrowing, like higher taxes and public spending cuts, will hit demand in coming months.
Execution Noble analysts said on Tuesday their latest monthly Spend Trend survey showed consumer confidence was weak.
"Public sector workers are becoming increasingly fearful of redundancy whilst rising retail prices is now the issue that makes consumers most wary about the outlook for their financial situation," they said, keeping an "underweight" investment rating on Britain's general retail sector.