CBI Retail Report suggests British retailers enjoyed a jump in sales this month and were at their most optimistic for 27 years
Retail sales have bounced back after years of sustained pressure as a direct consequence of the economic downturn according to the employers’ organisation, the CBI, which has said growth in the volume of retail sales and orders exceeded expectations. But according to Andy Burton, CEO of leading retail managed services provider and systems integrator, Tryzens, retailers now need to invest in new eCommerce platforms and technologies to ride the crest of consumer confidence.
The CBI’s snapshot of the high street in May indicated that sales volumes grew faster than City analysts and retailers themselves had been expecting. Its survey of 134 companies in retail, wholesale and motor trading showed a net balance of 51% saying sales volumes were up year on year.
Looking forward to their expectations for June, a net balance of 58% expected sales volumes to grow again, the strongest reading since September 1988 and well above 40% in last month’s survey.
Andy Burton, CEO, Tryzens, stated:
“Low inflation, or even mild deflation, has given household incomes a much-needed boost and greater spending power. Indeed market research company Nielsen has also reported that consumer confidence rose for the fifth successive quarter in the opening months of this year to hit its highest level since the pre-crisis days of 2006. The proportion of people feeling now was a good time to spend was also up – at 45% – the highest since comparable records began in late 2006. But it is not just the UK market that retailers need to focus on. Growth also comes from international expansion and that means ensuring that they have a shop window fit for growth on a truly international scale.”
Against the backdrop of falling unemployment and a modest pick up in wage growth, the survey of more than 500 people in the UK found the proportion feeling positive about their job prospects increased for the eighth consecutive quarter to 45% – the highest level for more than seven years.
“Not only that but last week, figures from the Office for National Statistics showed that UK retail sales rose by 1.2% in April, the strongest performance since November. For retailers the message is clear: these figures mean an increase in discretionary spending is more likely and that provides business opportunity for retailers through more spend on the High Street and online,”
Andy continued: “There is a solid growth opportunity in the UK and to succeed it is essential to demonstrate good value, to provide consistency of offers (and access to them) across channels and have a strong responsive design across device types to drive sales conversion and loyalty. There has never been a better time to leverage the power of online behaviour and to delight the consumer, the key is to be intuitive, easy to find and be consistent. Whilst many retailers have an ecommerce capability today, we are seeing many of our clients enhance their existing investments in technology to drive greater persistence of personalisation for customers across devices as well as responsive designs to improve mobile conversion and flexible delivery and collection options,”
“We are also seeing retailers pay much more attention to the proactive maintenance and management of their systems to ensure an efficient experience 24/7. Key to continued growth is international sales, and any solution in today’s online retail environment has to address that key component,” he concluded.
Niall Moran, David Mieny
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