CITY WHISPERS: Next will weather the storm approaching high streets, but online sales will weaken more sharply than expected this autumn

Demand at clothing stores has proved surprisingly resilient in recent weeks, retail sources tell Whispers. And this despite the chaos around.

But there are signs of pain. Executives noted that online sales weakened more than expected this fall.

Have shoppers finally shed their attachment to online shopping?

Good sign: Tony Shirrett, veteran retail analyst at stockbroker Panmure Gordon, has taken a look at Next, upgrading it from hold to buy last week

Undoubtedly, the impact of rising prices, electricity bills and mortgages has yet to fully hit the shops. This is likely to change. But winners emerge from every downturn.

Tony Shirrett, a veteran retail analyst at stockbroker Panmure Gordon, took a closer look at Next, upgrading it from hold to buy last week as the stock fell by almost a fifth in a month.

He said: “We expect Next to be able to ride out the downturn in demand which we are likely to see soon. Its medium-term prospects, in our opinion, are not properly recognized.

Moonpig shares are down

Shares in Moonpig have been “pretty lackluster,” notes stockbroker Davy.

They were at £3.50 early last year and now trade at £1.28, down 31 per cent in the past month alone.

They are weighed down by concerns that the recent acquisition of Buyagift, which sells “experiences” such as spa days and fancy afternoon teas, may not perform as well in the downturn.

Despite this, Davey believes it is the “highest quality business” among the class of 2021 IPOs.

And Moonpig has quintupled benchmarks since hitting the water.

One to watch.

Second largest shareholder supporting UKCM

UK Commercial Property Reit (UKCM) can take comfort in the knowledge that its second-largest shareholder will support a resolution this week calling for the company to continue operating.

Investec Wealth & Investment owns 11 per cent and believes shares in the £1.7bn FTSE 250 firm are “oversold”.

It will boost UKCM after the group revealed earlier this month that a meeting would be held to decide his future.

A vote is taken whenever the share price falls below the net asset value for at least 90 days.

UKCM shares have fallen about 21 percent this year.

The trust “unanimously” urged its investors to support the resolution.

Its largest investor, the insurance company Phoenix Group, has already pledged its support.

Can Vin Muria Knock Saachi Out?

M&C Saatchi appears to have fended off a promotion from both Vin Muria and communications firm Next Fifteen, with the latter pulling out this week.

M&C’s Moray McLennan is bullish on the ad agency’s prospects as a stand-alone firm.

But investors may be bracing for Muria’s next move.

The tech supremo, who owns a large stake in M&C, has made no secret of his opposition to the status quo.

Shares have fallen by more than a third in early trading.

Sources suggest that M&C may not have heard from Muria for the last time. McLennan may still regret turning down Muria’s offer by using an image of a boxer with the words “Low Price” and “High Risk” on his big gloves.

Could she still land a knockout blow?