15 Nov 2018
The October retail sales statistics delivered disappointment following a mild autumn, although the Golden Quarter may still shine through, says one retail expert.
The key findings from the statistics showed:
Phil Mullis, Partner and Head of Retail and Wholesale at leading accountancy firm, Wilkins Kennedy, said: “Halloween sales did little to keep the wolf from the door, but the scariest of sales statistics came from the fashion sector, which experienced a 1% drop in sales quantity.
“However, as August and September delivered fairly strong retail figures, it is hardly surprising to see a small comedown. The mild autumn weather could also be another reason for the fashion sector experiencing a drop in sales.
“We also cannot ignore the 10 year anniversary of the recession; which, arguably, has been one factor in changing shopping habits – with consumers putting value high on their shopping lists. In the last decade, online shopping has boomed and continues to grow, which, as a result, has affected physical retail. A long period of austerity measures has seen an increase in consumers sticking to a budget. Some retailers have reacted by discounting at the expense of margins and ultimately, profits: continual discounting simply does not work and is not sustainable, whereas having a strong and stable value proposition for its customers is one of the core strategies for a successful retail business.
“We have also seen the rise in popularity in Black Friday over the last few years. We need to be careful that we do not slip back into a discounting strategy and hold too many events so close to Christmas, especially when retailers should lean heavily on full pricing during the Golden Quarter, rather than pushing sales for sales sake at the cost of profit.
“Looking forward to November, it will be interesting to see how Christmas sales start to impact the retail statistics and how much Black Friday influences the retail landscape.”