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Industry News

Published on April 7th, 2017 | by The GC Team


Fourth consecutive month of no growth for high street sales

High street sales failed to grow for the fourth month in a row in March following a negative base of -1% in the same month last year.

According to accountancy firm BDO, which monitors 70 mid-market retailers with some 10,000 individual stores, total like-for-like sales were flat in March, at 0.0%, despite the last three weeks of the month recording an increase in footfall, with a high of +5.2% coming in week four.

BDO suggested that the buoyant footfall failing to translate into in-store sales is perhaps indicative of a continuing trend for consumer spend targeting “experiences” over “things”.

Hugh Fletcher, Global Head of Consultancy and Innovation at Salmon, said the stats paint an uncertain picture for traditional bricks and mortar stores. “Retailers struggled to convert the high footfall, but online sales continued to burgeon as non-store sales increased by a significant 28.1%.

“High-street retailers looking to secure a greater share of the market should recognise that online will gradually become the dominant commerce platform. However, as competitors also seek to shift online, retailers will need to look ahead and embrace new, innovative technology-driven ideas to succeed.”

Fujitsu’s Rupal Karia, Managing Director for Retail and Hospitality, UK and Ireland, said: “With March marking the beginning of a new season, it is disappointing that sales have failed to grow for the fourth month in a row. During more challenging times, it is even more crucial for retailers to find ways to make their experience enjoyable so as to entice and encourage customers into store, but also engage them once they are in there.

“This is where technology will have a part to play, so as to help retailers find ways to differentiate their experiences from their competitors. Retailers need to think of innovative ways to provide that heightened experience that consumers now demand thanks to the way online has altered their expectations of service, which allows them to experience products in an interesting and fresh way.”

Karia added that retailers need to provide customers with all the tools to make a fully-informed decision via seamlessly integrated channels, enabling them to move freely from one to the other during their shopping experience.

“The retailers that ensure they are digital from the inside out and create a balanced, efficient offering that caters for all audiences will be the ones who see success,” he said.

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