Deloitte comments on today's ONS retail sales figures
18 May 2017
Commenting on today’s ONS retail sales figures, Ian Geddes, head of retail at Deloitte, said:
“The late Easter weekend has given a much needed seasonal boost to UK retail after an underwhelming first quarter of 2017. April’s retail sales values (ex-fuel) increased by 6.5% from the previous month, largely due to the increased footfall caused by the fair weather and the long weekend. Certain sub-sectors, such as food and clothing did particularly well, with sales values up 4.3% and 7.5% respectively from 12 months ago.
“Online sales have been particularly strong over the last few months and April is no different; online retail is up 19% from last year and now accounts for 15.6% of all retail spending. Indeed, UK consumers spent £1bn a week online in April. This is further evidence of consumers’ continued adoption of digital technology such as smartphones and voice-controlled devices. Retailers are having to adapt business strategies in order to contend with a rapidly changing technology environment and a revolution in how customers want to consume goods and services.
“Clearly, the retail industry is still benefiting from strong spending growth after a sustained period of broadly confident consumers that are benefiting from low interest rates and record levels of employment. However, the retail environment is increasingly being challenged by inflation, which has risen to its highest level in five years and, at some point, retailers will have to ease the pressure by asking consumers to pay more for goods and services. Whilst the retail industry’s resilience may be tested in the short term, there is some way to go before the sector reaches a tipping point.
“Looking ahead, May’s retail sales figures could benefit from mild, sunny weather coinciding with the two bank holiday weekends, which should be the perfect recipe for further increased footfall. However, May 2016 was a particularly strong month, so it will be interesting to see how the year-on-year comparisons fare, and whether the figures for May 2017 show the first signs of inflation starting to bite.”
Notes to editors
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