Deloitte comments on ONS Retail Sales figures
24 May 2018
Commenting on today’s ONS retail sales figures, Ian Geddes, head of retail at Deloitte, said:
“April’s retail sales values (ex-fuel) rose 1.3% from the previous month, and are a solid 3.4% higher compared to April 2017. After a torrid first quarter of the year for the retail industry, April was by no means the cruellest month of the year so far for retailers, and provided stores with a much needed bounceback in terms of sales.
“Online sales in April accounted for 17.3% of all retail sales, rising from 16.1% in April 2017, with food and clothing stores achieving record online sales. Retailers are increasingly having to invest in technology so as to improve their omnichannel offering and remain attractive to current consumer behaviour. These are unavoidable steps that have to be made on the road to the retail model of the future.
“This is also evident by the fact that we are seeing unprecedented structural changes happening right across the sector. We are seeing many retailers grasping the nettle and closing unprofitable stores, merging with competitors and investing more heavily in digital in order to realign the business to changing consumer behaviour.
“We look forward to May’s numbers. The confluence of two Bank holiday weekends and record warm weather – not to mention a royal wedding - should provide the perfect blend for a much needed boost in consumer confidence and spending. The macroeconomic picture is also looking brighter, with falling inflation reducing the likelihood of an interest rate rise in the near term, whilst unemployment remains at record lows.
“Consumers and retailers have struggled in equal measure in recent months, but fortunes may be changing.”
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