Retail Insights

Retail Economics provide regular insights on UK retailing. Our latest thoughts and comments are available to view below:


UK retailers "sleep-walking into administration"

26 April 2016

Richard Lim, Chief Executive, Retail Economics said: "The recent events at BHS and Austin Reed focuses the mind on how many other traditional UK retailers are sleep-walking into administration.

"Many of the economic ...

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Is consumer spending about to lose steam?

4 April 2016

Consumer spending has grown strongly over the last three years with the underlying backdrop for households supported by strong employment growth, record-low interest rates, low levels of inflation and rising real incomes. In ...

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Store sales rise for second consecutive month as online growth remains robust

31 March 2016

Retail Economics estimates total Online sales rose by 11.8 per cent in February, year-on-year, compared with growth of 12.2 per cent in February 2015. Growth was slightly above the 12-month average of 11.2 per cent. So while ...

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February retail sales better than expected as consumers put EU woes to one side

30 March 2016

Retail sales rose by 2.0 per cent year-on-year (value, non-seasonally adjusted) in February according to the Retail Economics Retail Sales Index. The three month rolling average, which provides a more accurate underlying tre ...

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Inflation not expected to exceed 1 per cent in 2016

24 March 2016

The Consumer Price Index (CPI) was positive for a fourth consecutive month in February with prices rising 0.3 per cent, year-on-year – unchanged on the previous month. Consensus expectations suggested a small rise to 0.4 per ...

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Consumer spending continues to underpin economic recovery but uncertainty looms

26 February 2016

The second estimate for Gross Domestic Product (GDP) for Q4 2015 suggests growth was up +0.5 per cent compared with the previous quarter, unrevised from the preliminary estimate. This marked twelve consecutive quarters of pos ...

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Shoppers choose stores to hunt for bargains as online slows in January

25 February 2016

Retail Economics estimates total online sales rose by 10.4 per cent in January, year-on-year, compared with growth of 12.3 per cent in January 2015. Growth was below the 12-month average of 11.3 per cent. While January’s perf ...

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Retail sales bounce back in January, but tougher times ahead

21 February 2016

Retail sales rose by 2.2 per cent year-on-year (non-seasonally adjusted) in January according to the Retail Economics Sales Index. The three month rolling average, which provides a more accurate underlying trend, rose to +0. ...

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Inflation edges up for third consecutive month

19 February 2016

The Consumer Price Index (CPI) was positive for a third consecutive month in January with prices rising +0.3 per cent, year-on-year – in line with consensus expectations. The main upward pressure came from easing fuel price d ...

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Online the saviour of Christmas for UK retail

25 January 2016

Total online sales rose by 12.1 per cent in December, year-on-year, as consumers opted for the convenience of online over visiting the high street. Average weekly online sales reached £1,149 million in December – a record hi ...

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Christmas sales flop with bricks and mortar in sharpest decline since May 2009

24 January 2016

Retail sales fell by 0.5 per cent year-on-year (non-seasonally adjusted) in December according to the Retail Economics Sales Index. The three month rolling average, which provides a more accurate underlying trend, fell to +0 ...

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Inflation rises above 0.1 per cent for the first time in 12 months

20 January 2016

The Consumer Price Index (CPI) was positive for a second month in December with prices rising 0.2 per cent, year-on-year – in line with consensus expectations. This is the first month since January 2015 for which the rate has ...

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Outlook for the UK retail sector in 2016

2 January 2016

Retail is an inherently dynamic sector. The last 12 months has seen the UK retail landscape in continuous flux with digital and online technologies forging an inevitable shift in retail business models adapting to today’s con ...

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Black Friday fails to impress as Christmas performance hangs in the balance

20 December 2015

Retail sales rose by 1.3 per cent year-on-year (non-seasonally adjusted) in November according to the Retail Economics Sales Index. The three month rolling average, which smooths seasonal distortions, rose to 1.6 per cent fr ...

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Inflation returns in November, the first reading above zero since July

17 December 2015

The Consumer Price Index (CPI) returned to inflationary territory in November with prices rising 0.1 per cent, year-on-year – the first reading above zero since July. Movements in transport costs and alcohol and tobacco price ...

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Black Friday anticipation holds back October sales

23 November 2015

Retail sales disappointed in October as the anticipation of Black Friday meant consumers delayed spending in the expectation of deep and widespread discounts.

Retail sales rose by 0.7 per cent year-on-year (non-seas ...

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Continued deflation boosts household spending power in October

18 November 2015

October’s Consumer Price Index (CPI) remained in deflationary territory with prices falling 0.1 per cent on the year, unchanged from September. This is the joint-lowest rate since the 1960s.

Inflation has now hovered ...

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Retail sales boost in September bodes well for a bumper Christmas 2015

23 October 2015

Retail sales rose by a stellar 3.2 per cent year-on-year (non-seasonally adjusted) in September according to the Retail Economics Sales Index. The three month rolling average, which smooths seasonal distortions, rose to 1.8 ...

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Deflation returns to the UK in September

14 October 2015

The Consumer Price Index (CPI) fell back into deflationary territory in September with prices falling 0.1 per cent on the year. This means inflation has hovered around zero since the beginning of 2015. We expect that it may s ...

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Retail Sales in August weaken but outlook for fourth quarter still positive

20 September 2015

Retail sales rose by 0.6 per cent year-on-year (non-seasonally adjusted) in August according to the Retail Economics Sales Index. The three month rolling average, which smooths seasonal distortions, showed continued weakness ...

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Deflation soon to return as inflation continues to hover around zero

16 September 2015

The Consumer Price Index (CPI) was zero in August, continuing to hover around zero for seven months. This continued period of virtually no inflation continues to support households giving a boost to spending power. This resul ...

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Retail sales in July held steady by strong performance of Furniture, Homewares and Footwear

23 August 2015

Retail sales values (non-seasonally adjusted values and excluding fuel) rose by 1.9 per cent in July, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS). In volume terms, growth continued for the 28th consecutive month and ...

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Ten trends that are changing the landscape of the UK retail sector

13 August 2015

Retail has gone through enormous structural change over the last few years with digital, ecommerce and technology at the heart of transforming the retail landscape in the UK.

The growth and adoption of digital and ...

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Strong momentum in UK economy raises prospect of interest rate rise

3 August 2015

The first estimate of GDP for Q2 2015 confirmed that momentum is building up in the UK economy. The 0.7 per cent rise, compared with the previous quarter, was aligned with expectations and showed a significant improvement fro ...

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Retail sales remain robust: Home and Fashion best performing categories

27 July 2015

Retail sales values (non-seasonally adjusted values and excluding fuel) rose by 1.8 per cent in June, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS). In volume terms, growth continued for the 27th consecutive month and ...

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Outlook for inflation remains weak as CPI falls back down to zero in June

15 July 2015

The Consumer Price Index CPI was zero in June, a marginal decline from 0.1 per cent in May. UK consumers are continuing to benefit from sustained period of low inflation. It has now been 18 months since inflation was above 2 ...

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Consumer spending powers ahead in first quarter - but is retail being left behind?

6 July 2015

Consumer spending continued to power ahead in the first quarter of 2015 rising by +0.9 per cent compared with the previous quarter a significant upward revision from the earlier estimate of +0.5 per cent. On an annual basis ...

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Prospects for UK retail strong with 2.5 per cent rise in spending in May

22 June 2015

Retail sales values non-seasonally adjusted rose by 2.5 per cent in May, according to the Office for National Statistics. The underlying strength of data as suggested by the three month on three month movement in the quanti ...

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After a brief period of deflation, prices rise marginally in May but the outlook remains muted

16 June 2015

After the briefest period of deflation, the UK economy crept back to inflationary territory in May as prices rose by 0.1 per cent compared with the same period last year. The largest upward contribution to the change came fr ...

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Seven reasons to be optimistic on the outlook of the UK retail sector

14 June 2015

The outlook for households and consumer spending is the brightest in recent memory. An unexpected majority government, no inflation, rising real wages, record level of employment and rising household disposable income has bo ...

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Review of the economic trends impacting the retail sector

3 June 2015

UK GDP rose by 0.3 per cent in the first quarter of 2015, compared with the previous quarter, completing nine consecutive periods of positive growth. Underlying momentum remains strong with the UK economy 2.4 per cent larger ...

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Interactive Overview of the UK Retail Sector – June 2015

3 June 2015

There is no doubt that the UK retail sector has turned a corner over the last two years. The long road to recovery since the global financial crisis is well underway.

This interactive story gives a glimpse of how far w ...

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Retail sales momentum remains strong in April

29 May 2015

Retail sales values non-seasonally adjusted rose by 0.8 per cent in April, according to the Office for National Statistics. The timing of Easter, falling in April last year against March this year, has distorted growth this ...

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UK enters deflation - first time since 1960

20 May 2015

The UK finally tipped into deflation in April, according to the latest figures from the Office for National Statistics ONS. The Consumer Price Index fell from zero in March to -0.1 per cent in April, the first time the measur ...

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Boost in consumer confidence bodes well for the retail sector

7 May 2015

Preliminary estimates for GDP in the first quarter of 2015 slowed to 0.3 per cent compared with the previous quarter, down from 0.5 per cent in the last quarter of 2014. While other surveys had indicated a weakening of GDP, ...

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Is the recovery in households' spending bypassing the retail sector?

24 April 2015

Whilst the timing of an earlier Easter this year has made reading of retail sales more difficult this month, the latest set of data still offered encouraging signs that deflation in the high street and real income growth is s ...

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Inflation flatlines – although "technically" we are in deflationary times

14 April 2015

UK inflation held at zero in March, matching the record low of the previous month. It could yet fall into deflationary territory but, irrespective of a negative number, we expect inflation to remain at subdued levels for the ...

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Retail sales slow in February but outlook still positive

7 April 2015

Retail sales showed robust growth in February as positive economic fundamentals continue to underpin consumer spending and confidence. According to the ONS, retail sales were up by 5.1% (volume, exc. automotive fuel), the 23 ...

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UK on the verge of deflation

25 March 2015

The UK is on the verge of deflation with the latest data reporting the Consumer Price Index (CPI) falling to zero in February. As we have indicated in previous reports we believe a brief period of deflation will be beneficial ...

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Cocktail of falling inflation rising real incomes and robust economic growth tastes sweet on consumers palate

5 March 2015

Consumer spending continued to support overall growth in the economy in the last quarter of 2014. The second estimate of GDP remained unchanged suggesting the economy grew by 0.5% with household spending accounting for 0.3 pe ...

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Falling inflation, rising real wages and consumers on a high

4 March 2015

The second estimate of GDP remained unchanged suggesting the economy grew by 0.5% in the fourth quarter of 2014 compared with the previous quarter. Consequently annual growth for the UK remained at 2.6% which rounded off an ...

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Retail sales momentum continues into 2015

22 February 2015

Retail sales growth maintained strong underlying momentum in January with sales up by 2.6% on the previous year (values, non-seasonally adjusted). The underlying pattern in the rolling three-month on three-month (chart 1) mov ...

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Inflation falls to an all-time low. Are retailers rebuilding margins?

18 February 2015

The Consumer Price Index (CPI) reached a record low of 0.3% in January, edging down from 0.5% reported in the previous month. We expect inflation to continue to fall through the first half of 2015 as the impact of weaker oil ...

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UK Consumer: Stronger fundamentals underpin prospects for consumer spending in 2015

2 February 2015

The UK economy continues to tread a path of sustainable growth with preliminary estimates suggesting output was up 0.5% in the fourth quarter of 2014 compared with the previous quarter. This rounds off an impressive year wit ...

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UK Economic Overview: January 2015 - UK economy grows 0.5% in final quarter completing eight consecutive quarters of growth

27 January 2015

UK Economic Overview
Preliminary estimates suggest that the economy grew by 0.5% in the fourth quarter of 2014 compared with the previous quarter. This rounds off an impressive year with output up by 2.6% - the fa ...

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Summary: UK Retail Sales - December 2014

25 January 2015

The latest data from the ONS suggests that the consumer recovery remained robust in the final quarter of 2014 and looking ahead, the prospects for 2015 appear encouraging. Retail sales in the final quarter grew at the fastest ...

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Retail’s Digital Transformation: Four themes at the heart of structural change in UK retail

19 January 2015

The growth and adoption of digital and mobile technologies has transformed the way people shop - changing the retail landscape forever. Transparency in price, service and quality has never been more ubiquitous. The customer j ...

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BRC-KPMG Retail Sales Monitor – December 2014: The impact of Black Friday on UK Retail Sales

16 January 2015

The BRC reported its weakest level of growth for December since 2008 which, in our mind, confirms the distorting impact of Black Friday on the distribution of spending in the traditional Christmas sense. As we reported in our ...

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Summary: UK Retail Inflation January 2015 - Inflation falls to a 15 year low driven by falling petrol prices and cheaper food

14 January 2015

Overview

The Consumer Price Index (CPI) fell to a 15 year low of just 0.5% in December as falling petrol and food prices pushed down the overall rate of inflation.

The full impact of falling oil prices is ...

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Outlook for the retail sector in 2015

8 January 2015

The outlook for retail spending in 2015 looks set to improve with the combination of low inflation, reviving growth in earnings and resilience in the labour market ensuring that households’ real disposable incomes improve ove ...

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Structural changes in the retail grocery sector

7 January 2015

The UK’s grocery sector is one of the most fiercely competitive areas in retail. In 2014, Retail Economics forecasts suggest total food sales will reach almost £150 billion. However, the sector is undergoing significant stru ...

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Summary: UK Retail Sales December 2014 - “Black Friday boosts retail sales, but underlying conditions improving too”

19 December 2014

Black Friday provided a significant boost to retail sales in November but underlying conditions are improving too. Stronger figures from both the ONS and BRC suggest that a robust labour market, real earnings growth and falli ...

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Summary: UK Retail Inflation December 2014

17 December 2014

Overview
The Consumer Price Index (CPI) fell to a 12 year low of just 1.0% in November as food deflation and the impact of lower oil prices drove down the overall rate. As we pointed out in November’s report, we feel that ...

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Summary of announcements made in the Autumn Statement that will impact the UK retail sector

3 December 2014

Economic overview

The Chancellor, George Osbourne, revised up the growth projection for 2014 and 2015, but revised the profile down thereafter, delivering a more optimistic prognosis of economic growth and borrowing ...

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Summary UK Retail Sales November 2014

21 November 2014

Below is our summary of UK retail sales for November 2014 within the Food and Drink, Clothing and Footwear, Household Goods, DIY and Gardening and Consumer Electronics categories.

Food and drink
The grocery sector c ...

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Summary UK Retail Inflation November 2014

19 November 2014

Overview

The Consumer Price Index CPI in October rose marginally to 1.3 in what is likely to be a small blip in the longer-term downward trend.

Falling commodity prices particularly oil look set to continue pr ...

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Are men paid more than women in retail in the UK?

27 October 2014

There are numerous ways of answering this question – but in short, the answer is a resounding, yes - men are paid more than women in UK retail. Average pay across the retail industry suggests men are paid more than women by ...

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Impact of interest rate rise - When and how much is it going to hurt

14 October 2014

Current market expectations suggest the Bank of England will begin hiking the Bank Rate in the summer of 2015. This notion is also supported by the shifting tone in communications from the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) and ...

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Online Retail in the UK

21 September 2014

Internet users grew to 82 per cent of the UK adult population in the final quarter of 2013, equivalent to 41.5 million users, according to the Retail Economics Online Retailing 2013 Report. In addition, the number of mobile ...

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