Press releases

Deloitte comments on ONS retail sales

20 February 2020

Commenting on today’s ONS retail sales figures, Ian Geddes, head of retail at Deloitte, said:

“Consumers have entered the new decade on a confidence high, counteracting the seasonal dip that January usually brings. Reflecting this, retail sales values and volumes both saw some growth in the first month of the year, increasing month-on-month by +2.2% and +1.2%, respectively. The three-month trend remained down due to weak trading in November and December.

“Whilst this is positive news for retailers, following a difficult Christmas for some that was punctuated by deep discounting, some lingering caution remains. Consumers may still be in ‘careful shopping mode’, but for how long is yet to be seen.

“In recent years we have seen the emergence of a more conscious consumer, equipped with greater awareness of the ethical and environmental impact of what they buy. For some, this has simply meant buying less and decluttering or, in fashion, buying into new services such as wardrobe rentals.

“For other consumers, the event of a new year has kick-started new habits, be it switching to a plant-based diet for ‘veganuary’, or restricting alcohol consumption for ‘dry January’. Retailers are catering to these seasonal trends more than ever, bringing new product ranges to shop floors that match changing consumer tastes.

“Similar changing behaviours are also reflected in the growth of online sales, which has increased +4.9% this month, but increasing at a much slower pace year-on-year.”


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