White Papers

Retail Economics publish white papers on topics of interest to the retail sector. See below for our latest white papers:

Election result makes hard Brexit more likely not less

June 2017

Some of the early analysis of last weeks election suggests that it will now be more difficult for the government to drive through a hard Brexit. We disagree. In fact the opposite is the case a hard Brexit becomes more likely now.

When the UK submitted its Article 50 letter it set in train a process to leave the EU which now has its own momentum. This means that unless the UK and EU explicitly agree otherwise at the end of the two-year process the UK will be out of the EU and will have a trading relationship based on so-called WTO rules. In trade terms this is what hard Brexit means. This outcome requires no further decision or action on the part of either party and is the default consequence of the UK's decision to leave. As Michel Barnier the EUs chief Brexit negotiator told the Commission "... in any event the UK would become a third country on 29 March 2019." So hard Brexit is the road that we are already on.

Subscribe to Retail Economics to keep abreast of the latest developments and understand what this could mean for your business.

What does Brexit mean for the economy and the UK retail industry?

July 2016

The result of the EU Referendum is clear. The implications that this will have on consumer spending, households’ disposable incomes, savings, confidence and the wider retail industry are not. Uncertainty over speed, breadth and magnitude of these changes are likely to weigh on our economic prospects and those of UK households for some time.

The focus on economic data and analysis has never been more important. In a period of heightened uncertainty, it will be critical for businesses to understand how the rapidly changing macroeconomic environment affects the retail industry as the repercussions of Brexit unfold.

In the short-run, households’ disposable incomes are unlikely to change significantly. It will take time for the knock-on effects of the vote to work their way through to the real economy in terms of jobs, higher inflation and lower economic output. Nevertheless, we expect elevated levels of uncertainty to lead to a sharp fall in consumer confidence which will trigger higher levels of saving as consumers rein in their spending.

Subscribe to Retail Economics to keep abreast of the latest developments and understand what this could mean for your business.

Brexit - A Retail Industry Perspective

May 2016

It is argued that both the break with the EU and the uncertainty associated with it would be damaging for businesses and could undermine the UKs economic recovery.

In reality should Britain leave the EU the severity of the impact would depend on the new relationship that emerges between the UK and the EU after a vote to leave. Put simply no member state has ever left the EU so there is no precedent set for guidance. If the UK votes to leave the EU it is also unknown what arrangements will be agreed to replace the EU membership however there are likely scenarios which may develop.

Download our Brexit - A Retail Industry Perspective white paper to see the possible arrangements that may be negotiated and the possible macroeconomic effects and implications that Brexit could have for the retail industry.

Outlook for the UK retail sector in 2016

January 2016

In partnership with

BCSC (British Council of Shopping Centres)

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 consumers. Underlying these sectoral challenges lie a complex macroeconomic environment which underpins consumer sentiment and spending power.

UK households haven't had it better in over a decade. The perfect storm of record low interest rates deflation across non-discretionary items rising real wages all-time highs in employment and robust consumer confidence saw a sharp recovery in households spending power. It resulted in the strongest growth in consumer spending since 2007 during the credit-fuelled boom.

So after a landmark year in the consumer recovery what does 2016 hold for the UK retail industry

Download our latest report for an in-depth outlook of the UK retail industry in 2016.

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

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 mobile technologies has caused a fundamental shift in the way consumers shop and interact with retailers of all sizes and types in all locations. The power dynamic between retailers and consumers has shifted and todays consumers are more empowered than ever before.

Download our white paper for the top 10 trends that are transforming the UK retail sector.

Future of Retail: Strategic Digital Transformation

March 2015

This is an exciting but challenging time for UK retail. The growth and adoption of digital and mobile technologies has caused a fundamental shift in the way consumers shop and interact with retailers of all sizes and types, in all locations. Transparency in price, service and quality has never been more ubiquitous. The customer journey has become infinitely more complex to measure, predict and understand, while shoppers’ expectations have never been more challenging to meet.

An informed and ever-connected consumer is empowered with multiple options for browsing, purchasing and product comparisons, while delivery and collection options are widening. Browsing on mobile in-store, buying online and picking up orders from a local collection hub is commonplace. Experiences, positive or negative, are shared with friends and online communities instantly. The power dynamic between buyers and sellers has altered dramatically with today’s consumers more empowered than ever before.