Warmer weather helps retail sales rise by 4% on previous year, according to official data.
The unpredictable British weather has helped retailers beat sales forecasts in April as sales volumes jumped 2.3% from March, highlighting the importance of brands optimising their omni-channel experience, according to eCommerce systems integrator Tryzens.
Data released by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) suggested that the unexpected warmer weather has resulted in sales volumes increasing across the retail sector. The data showed that retail sales were up 4% compared to April 2016, with online sales also contributing to this growth. Internet retail sales were up 19% on last year, accounting for 15.6% of all retail spending.
The release of the ONS data comes shortly after previous figures were released from the British Retail Consortium which showed that there was a 6% year-on-year sales growth during April. The high street still has a clear impact in a retailer’s sales strategy, but the speed in which online sales continue to grow remains the priority focus moving forward, Dan Fountain, COO of Tryzens suggests.
Dan said: “The figures show the how important the high street remains and the impact it can have on a brand’s sales figures. The influx in April appears to be due to the unexpected warmer weather and whilst the unpredictability of British weather is not something that retailers can control, maintaining an excellent customer experience throughout the omni-channel is a must to stay ahead of the competition. Whilst the headline statistic here is the in-store retail sales, online sales continue contribute to retail sales growth. Internet retail sales are up 19% on last year, accounting for 15.6% of all retail spending, showing the growing importance of online in the omni-channel. A retailer’s online, mobile and social channels will continue to account for a higher percentage of all retail spending and brands need to ensure that their customers’ experience through these channels is heightened to remain competitive. Whilst footfall might be dependent on weather, online retail experiences are going from strength to strength and are solely affected by a retailer’s commitment to them.
“Inflation and wage freezes were concerns for retailers and expected driving forces behind decreased spending. That hasn’t been the case in April but moving forwards, inflation may become an important factor for retailers to address. With these fears, it stands to reason that consumers are heading in droves to virtual stores, which can offer the widest of product ranges, competitive prices, plus an easy to use experience and convenient fulfilment options. It also offers the ability for Retailers to reach a wider market than their store footprints cold ever achieve. Forward-thinking retailers are realising the importance of leveraging the advances in eCommerce technology and associated operating models and are re-evaluating their customer experience strategies and funding to leverage the online market,” Dan concluded.