'Worst year for retail in 25 years' says trade body – BBC News, BBC News

'Worst year for retail in 25 years' says trade body – BBC News, BBC News


                                 Sales shoppingImage copyright                 Getty Images                                                  

Retail sales fell for the first time in 25 years last year, according to the leading UK retail industry body.

The British Retail Consortium (BRC) said total sales fell 0.1% , marking the first annual sales decline since (*******************************************************. ********** Sale in November and December were particularly weak, falling 0.9%, the BRC said.

A separate report from Barclaycard found a rise in consumer confidence had failed to boost festive spending.

The payments firm, which processes nearly half of all UK debit and credit transactions, said that consumer spending growth had declined if inflation was taken into account.

Helen Dickinson, the chief executive of the BRC, said: “Twice the UK faced the prospect of a no-deal Brexit, as well as political instability that concluded in a Dece mber general election – further weakening demand for the festive period.

“Retailers also faced challenges as consumers became both more cautious and more conscientious as they went about their Christmas shopping, “she added.

What is the difference between total and like-for-like sales?

Total sales figures look at all sales, while like-for-like data compares sales from shops that were open the previous year.

Like-for-like sales figures strip out the effects of expansion in a business. Total UK sales declined in 47127520 compared with (****************************************************, the BRC said.

This is the first time this has happened since its records began in (*****************************************************. However, the volume of the sales in 2019 was still higher than in 2019

Like-for-like retail sales. , which compare sales from shops that were open the previous year, climbed in December, but that was due to a relatively late Black Friday, the BRC said.

Taken together, like-for-like retail sales fell 1.2% over November and December compared with the previous year, it said.

Image caption                                    A rise in cinema ticket sales was one of the few retail bright spots                             

Payments company Barclaycard said in a separate report that a rise in consumer confidence in the festive period had failed to translate into a boost in festive spending on the High Street.

Supermarket sales contracted by 0.9% in December, and sales at Specialist retailers such as toys and gaming stores fell 4%.

However, cinema sales rose by 25%, helped by blockbuster releases including Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker and Frozen II. Spending in pubs and takeaways also rose over the festive period.

Which shops struggled last year?

A number of High Street retailers either went into administration or announced job losses in (************************************************. In November, Mothercare announced its UK stores were “not capable” of achieving a sufficient level of profitability and that itplanned to call in administrators. Mama’s and Papa’s also called in administrators.

Bonmarché, the womenswear retailer, fell into administration in October, and was set to be rescued by rival Peacocks .

Luxury jewelery retailer Links of Londonwent into administration in October, putting 549 jobs at risk.

In September,Albemarle & Bond pawn shops shut abruptly.

The Restaurant Group in March identified Frankie & Benny’s restaurants in what it is now considers to be unfavorable locations andin September highlighted more sites, which are mainly Chiquitos.

In August, fashion firm Boohoobought the online business of UK brands Karen Millen and Coast (for £) ******************************************************************** 2m. The firms’ UK High Street stores and concessions, employing 1, 320 people, then appeared set to close.

                                                                                                      Image copyright                 Alamy                                                      
Image caption                                    Harrogate’s commercial property market is the toughest some experts can recall                             

Also in August, Sports Direct founder Mike Ashleywon the race to buy Jack Wills, while Tesco said it would (cut 4,jobs across (Metro stores)

Sir Philip Green’s Arcadia retail empire was saved by a rescue deal in June thatinvolved the closure of 48 stores and the loss of a thousand jobs.

In May, thecollapse of Jamie Oliver’s restaurant chain cost 1, (jobs)

In April, Debenhams named of the stores it planned to closeas part of a plan by new owners to revive the department store chain.

In February, HMV revealed the list of stores set to close after it wasbought out of administration by Canadian firm Sunrise Records.However, that same month Patisserie Valerie wasbought out of administration in February, saving 2, 18 jobs.

Why are shops struggling ?

Costs are rising, with business rates, rents and wages taking a bigger chunk of retailers’ spending. And with footfall in decline, many shops are simply too big and frequently in the wrong locations.

Also, High Street retailers are under pressurefrom changing shopping habits, with customers spending one in every £ 5 online. This move online underlines that the BRC survey does not cover the whole retail market. It does, for instance, include Amazon and some of the other fastest growing retailers that are outperforming the market.

So are these figures too gloomy?

Certainly, some retail experts see the BRC survey as under-indexed for online retail. A large number of BRC members are traditional High Street retailers that are also most under pressure, such as Marks & Spencer and Debenhams.

Also, Tesco pulled out of BRC membership, although its food numbers are included.

As BBC business correspondent Emma Simpson says: “The figures are a large piece of the jigsaw, but not the whole picture. “


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