Deloitte comments on today’s ONS retail sales figures
22 January 2016
Commenting on today’s ONS retail sales figures, Ian Geddes, head of retail at Deloitte, said:
“December’s retail sales values have fallen year-on-year, following unprecedented levels of pre-Christmas discounting. The clothing sector was heavily impacted by the unseasonably warm weather in December. The value of retail sales of clothing fell by 5.3% as winter fashion lines proved hard to shift.
“The real winners both online and instore appear to be the department stores. Supermarkets also posting a surprisingly solid performance, driven by strong sales of general merchandise. However, we think that ultimately success should be judged by profits not sales this Christmas. We look forward to the reporting season with interest.
“The value of December‘s online sales figures were well ahead of many expectations as the channel continued to gain market share. This growing proportion of online sales indicates that the retail industry is responding to changing consumer behaviours, but there is still a lot of work to be done in managing the shift to what is inherently a less profitable channel. The battle to win over the online consumer continues, and should be a key focus for retailers in 2016.
“On the surface, retailers should feel optimistic for the year ahead. Low interest rates, higher incomes and falling fuel costs should give another boost to consumer confidence and spending power in 2016. Policymakers will want to avoid upsetting the apple-cart when it comes to the consumer sector. However, retailers should not be complacent. The forthcoming EU referendum could cause some uncertainty for the retail industry.”
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