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Industry News

Published on November 8th, 2018 | by The GC Team

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Golden Quarter “a bit of a non-starter”

Retail sales saw only a slight uplift in October, as cautious consumer spending continued into the final quarter of the year.

According to the British Retail Consortium, sales increased by 0.1% on a like-for-like basis from October 2017. The organisation said the sales period offered “more tricks than treats for retailers.”

BRC Chief Executive Helen Dickinson said brighter weather and the anticipation of better deals in November’s Black Friday sales dampened demand for discretionary purchases, while low real wage growth over an extended period has left consumers with less money in their pocket.  

“October kicks off the all-important golden quarter, with some retailers earning the majority of their annual profits in these months alone. But with October’s like-for-like sales flatlining at 0.1%, it was a bit of a non-starter,” said Paul Martin, Head of Retail at KPMG.

“Demand was mainly dampened by continued economic uncertainty, as well as the anticipation for the deep discounting ahead – especially now that Black Friday weekend has become such a permanent feature.”

Last week a survey from research firm GfK showed consumer confidence sank to the low level of -28 on fears for the UK’s general economic situation over the next 12 months.  Joe Staton, Client Strategy Director at the company commented that the public also appeared to be losing confidence that now is the right time to make major purchases.

“This will concern retailers in the run-up to Black Friday, Cyber Monday and the key Christmas trading period,” he said.

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