Press releases

Deloitte's Ian Geddes comments on today’s ONS retail sales figures

21 April 2016

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

“March’s retail sales values have decreased marginally by 0.1% year-on-year. Evidently, the early Easter weekend did not live up to analysts’ expectations for boosting March’s sales. Retail sales values fell in food, clothing and footwear segments, which was particularly unexpected considering the time of the year.

“We have reached a new milestone in online and digital sales, which have grown 8.9% compared to March 2015. One reason for this is simply down to the increase in smartphone and tablet ownership: 76% of UK consumers have access to a smartphone, and 60% to a tablet. Similarly, online and mobile payment methods are improving; the gap between browsing and purchasing through a mobile device has narrowed, thanks to the rise of touch-based payment services. Finally, the boost in online sales is an indication that retailers’ digital investment is starting to pay off.

“Another interesting observation lies in the correlation between bad weather and online sales. Traditionally, store sales have often been negatively impacted by poor weather conditions. However, the opposite appears to be true for online sales; unseasonable weather encourages consumers to purchase goods using their smartphones or tablets rather than visiting the high street.

“The retail industry will have to remain adaptable to changing consumer confidence and spending patterns in the short term, particularly given economic and political uncertainty in the coming months.”


Notes to editors

About Deloitte
In this press release references to Deloitte are references to Deloitte LLP, which is among the country's leading professional services firms.

Deloitte LLP is the United Kingdom member firm of Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited (“DTTL”), a UK private company limited by guarantee, whose member firms are legally separate and independent entities. Please see for a detailed description of the legal structure of DTTL and its member firms.

The information contained in this press release is correct at the time of going to press.

Member of Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited.

George Parrett
Deloitte LLP
+44 (0) 20 7007 7285

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