Money: ‘Worst Christmas in a decade’ for high-street shops - PressFrom - United Kingdom
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Money‘Worst Christmas in a decade’ for high-street shops

13:15  11 january  2019
13:15  11 january  2019 Source:   theweek.co.uk

High Street struggle will 'intensify' next year regardless of Brexit outcome, experts warn, but there may be a slight shift back in favour of physical shops

High Street struggle will 'intensify' next year regardless of Brexit outcome, experts warn, but there may be a slight shift back in favour of physical shops Members of the KPMG/Ipsos Retail Think Tank (RTT) said that, while it is 'easy to point the finger at Brexit' as the singular cause of all the woes in the industry, there is a wider array of forces at play. These include changing shopping behaviour, too many shops, high levels of debt, compliance costs, macro-economic challenges, and a lack of talent.'These forces have been gathering momentum for a number of years and are by no means new,' said KPMG's head of retail and RTT member Paul Martin.

High street stores suffered their worst Christmas in a decade as retail sales flatlined and massive discounts failed to lure shoppers. “The ongoing shift towards online shopping made life difficult for retailers over-exposed to high streets with dwindling levels of footfall.

Retail sales were flat in December, as UK businesses experienced their worst Christmas in a decade , according to the British Retail Consortium (BRC). Total retail sales showed 0% year-on-year growth during the month, the worst December performance since 2008. The BRC said price cuts appeared

‘Worst Christmas in a decade’ for high-street shops © Provided by Dennis Publishing Limited

Retail sales in the UK showed no year-on-year growth at all over December, in what has been labelled the worst Christmas for the British high street since 2008.

According to a report by the British Retail Consortium (BRC) and auditing firm KPMG, total retail sales were flat during the festive season, while like-for-like sales fell by 0.7% from December 2017, as shoppers “reined in spending and shifted to budget retailers”, The Independent reports.

BRC chief executive Helen Dickinson said that despite considerable price cuts in stores, sales figures show that consumers “chose not to splash out this Christmas”.

High Street shops brace themselves for a 2.4% hike in business rates, after disappointing Christmas sales

High Street shops brace themselves for a 2.4% hike in business rates, after disappointing Christmas sales High street firms will be hit with a 2.4 per cent rise in rates – and, for the first time in history, large stores will pay more than 50p in tax for every pound that their property is worth. This week the retail crisis claimed another victim with the collapse of men’s clothing chain Greenwoods. Many retailers are perilously short of cash after a dismal Christmas. © Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited Many retailers are perilously short of cash after a dismal Christmas sales period They face a tough start to the year as consumers cut back spending, and it is feared some of the biggest names in shopping may not survive.

British retailers recorded zero sales growth in December - their worst Christmas trading for a decade - according to new data. Not since the midst of the financial Not since the midst of the financial crisis in 2008 have UK high streets performed so poorly, the British Retail Consortium and KPMG found.

Shops including Tesco, M&S, John Lewis and Debenhams will reveal results next week in acid test for Christmas period. Sophie Michael, head of retail and wholesale at BDO, said: 'As retailers suffered the worst year for well over a decade for in-store sales, it's clear that consumer confidence is low.

“The worst December sales performance in ten years means a challenging start to 2019 for retailers, with business rates set to rise once again this year, and the threat of a no-deal Brexit looming ever larger,” she said.

“Retailers are facing up to this challenge but are having to wrestle with mounting costs from a succession of government policies - from the apprenticeship levy, to higher wage costs, to rising business rates.”

‘Worst Christmas in a decade’ for high-street shops © 2018 Matthew Horwood CARDIFF, UNITED KINGDOM - DECEMBER 30: A general view of the Next store on December 30, 2018 in Cardiff, United Kingdom. Financial management consultancy Deloitte has predicted larger than normal discounts for post-Christmas sales as retailers aim to recuperate sales after a weak lead up to Christmas. (Photo by Matthew Horwood/Getty Images)

There was some good news, however. Paul Martin, UK head of retail at KPMG, said that while retailers experienced “little festive cheer this year”, the food sector ”did provide a glimmer of hope, being among the few categories to notice an uptick” in spending.

Woolworths: In memory of one of the weirdest shops on the British high street

Woolworths: In memory of one of the weirdest shops on the British high street The last branches of Woolworths closed a decade ago this week. As the shutters clanged down on the chain’s final 199 shopfronts in market towns across the British Isles on 6 January 2009, a little piece of UK high street history passed away. No longer would British shoppers have access to a one-stop shop answering to all of our most disparate needs.

2018 was the worst Christmas for shops since the financial crisis a decade ago. Meanwhile, Tesco reported its best Christmas results in a decade with a 2.2 per cent rise in UK like-for-like sales. "However, the continued contrast in performance between the high street and online remained

Retailers experienced their worst Christmas for 10 years last month as shops were hit by Brexit worries and a dramatic fall in consumer confidence. The BRC warned that already struggling high streets were likely to be blighted by further shop closures during 2019 as rising costs, including

But in a continuation of the doom and gloom, a separate study published by Barclaycard found that consumer spending grew by just 1.8% year-on-year in December - the lowest rate of growth seen since March 2016, the BBC reports.

Barclaycard director Esme Harwood said this modest growth “represents a decline in real terms”, adding that consumers “remain cautious amidst ongoing economic uncertainty”.

‘Worst Christmas in a decade’ for high-street shops © 2019 Samuel de Roman MADRID, SPAIN - JANUARY 07: Pedestrians look at a display window offering post-Christmas sales on January 7, 2018 in Madrid, Spain. Winter sales start on Monday 07 January in Spain and run until 31 March. (Photo by Samuel de Roman/Getty Images)

High-street retailers are still reeling from a disastrous 2018. A total of 2,692 shops disappeared from Britain’s top 500 high streets in the first six months of the year - a rate of around 14 a day.

Richard Lim, of consultancy Retail Economics, said the BRC’s figures “are worse than we’d feared and hammer home the message that all is not well on our high streets”, reports HuffPost.

UK shops' December sales fall for sixth straight year - BDO survey

UK shops' December sales fall for sixth straight year - BDO survey UK shops' December sales fall for sixth straight year - BDO survey

Retail sales growth flatlined in December – the worst Christmas performance for a decade – according to an index. “However, the continued contrast in performance between the high street and online remained evident in December – albeit 2018 did also see a continued slowdown in online retail

"The worst December sales performance in 10 years means a challenging start to 2019 for retailers Experts said freezing temperatures and the relentless popularity of shopping online were behind the Image: Black Friday discounts failed to deliver a big enough boost to lift high street sales in November.

Lim blamed “the ongoing shift towards online shopping” and an “extraordinary level of discounting in the run-up to Christmas” for eroding profit margins over the traditionally lucrative festive period.

“Inevitably, this will have left many retailers in a more precarious financial situation heading into 2019,” he said.

Gallery: 7 things you can do today to be richer in 2019 [Business Insider]


Retailers cut 70,000 jobs in 2018 as high street crisis worsens.
Around 70,000 jobs were lost in the retail industry last year as the decline of the UK’s high streets continued. The sector employed 2.2 per cent less people in the final three months of 2018 than it did a year before, new research found. Christmas failed to slow down the job losses, and the number of “frontline staff” will continue to fall over the next decade, The British Retail Consortium predicted. The total number of hours fell even further, with a 2.8 per cent annual reduction. Both full-time and part-time workers saw their hours reduced, although the decline has slowed over the past year.

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