By Patrick Avenell

Clive Peeters managing director Greg Smith announced last Friday that all but two new store openings will be shelved indefinitely as the retail group tries to recover from a $1 million operating loss from the first quarter of FY09.

In a notice to the ASX Friday afternoon, Smith said that the global economic crisis and low consumer confidence had led to weakened floor traffic and drastically reduced sales.

“Margins have been under pressure over August and September 2008 with retail competitors increasingly conducting their businesses with preservation of cash flow as the priority,” wrote Smith to the ASX.

With sales down nationally and margins under pressure, Smith has decided to postpone indefinitely the planned opening of all but two Clive Peeters stores.

“Apart from two new stores opening in Coburg Victoria (sic) and Townsville Queensland (sic) over the December 2008 quarter all new stores will be put on hold until the retail cycle improves,” he wrote.