News from Business Reply this week – as the retail sector changes with winners and losers all around lots of companies are investing but sales are still low with a reported 16% growth – half of the expected forecast. So was this slower increase just a backlash of the big hike in April where retail sales showed an average rise of 30 percent or are people being a lot more cautious as they head towards the holiday season? A few bank holidays in a run, rainy weather and the rising cost of food could all add to the lack of footfall, too.
A lot of retail stores are feeling a lull in sales and the small growth shown may feel quite sparse but again it is still a growth on sales. There have been some retail winners and whilst food outlets and department stores seem to have missed out on winning sales other areas of retail have indeed shown a win. According to reports and retail news it appears that furniture and carpets were one of the big sellers in recent months with DIY and shoes (probably wellies!) in close competition. Online sales have continued to grow – well why pop out to the shops if you’ve just bought some nice new carpet – you want to enjoy it don’t you!
Of course it could all change again over the next few weeks -the supermarkets are starting to face up to each other and have to put their money where their mozzarella is! It looks like price wars could come from some unexpected quarters but could be a short term win for customers. Other retailers, such as Halfords have decided to try to win the customers with a program of improving customer service and in store assistance.
Sports Direct open a new flagship shop in the capital city, B&M are looking to increase their run of retail outlets and Oddbins bounce back under new ownership to surge forward with more stores planned. Aldi are recruiting 5000 new staff as their no frills popularity grows. On the other scale Selfridges are investing £3 million in their London store also Burberry and John Lewis have reported a hike in sales with a good heritage base to support them. So what will we have to shout about for May retail? Who will be the sparkly winners and who will turn out to be Billy no customers?