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Retail Update - December 2014


Posted At: 18 December 2014 15:12 PM
Related Categories: Administrations, Retailer At Risk, Retailers


With Christmas fast approaching, it is pleasing to note that other than Mexx – which had very little UK presence left following financial troubles in 2008 and has now been declared bankrupt – no administrations have been recorded on the FSP Retailer Database since the demise of Phones 4U in September. However, Austin Reed teeters on the brink, having appointed Deloitte to work on a strategic review of the business after it made a £1.29m loss in the year to January 2014. Owner Darius Capital Partners is thought to be in discussions with the auditor over a company voluntary arrangement. 

Confidence has certainly showed a marked improvement since Christmas 2013, with research by IGD forecasting that spending on Christmas food and drink will increase by 1.2% this year to £20bn. The study also stated that £1bn will be spent via online; that £1.5bn will be spent via discounters, and that only three out of 10 consumers are planning on doing a traditional ‘big Christmas shop’. 

Supermarket price wars have continued to intensify over the course of the year, with Aldi and Lidl making record market share gains as the traditional ‘big four’ grocers battle to keep afloat and attract consumers.

November saw the fastest month-on-month growth in online sales in the 14-year history of the IMRG Capgemini e-Retail Sales Index, rising by 37%. Year-on-year, online sales increased by 20% to mark the biggest growth rate in 2014 so far. The figures show that in the year-to-date online retail sales are up 15% and following a strong start to December with Cyber Monday, this figure is expected to reach 16% at the end of the year. Overall, an estimated £12.1 billion was spent online in November, with an average basket value, excluding travel, of £78, attributed in the main to this year’s Black Friday sales success – sales were up 44% in the week commencing 23 November alone, compared with the previous week. 

Staying with the online growth trend, the numbers of click-and-collect orders are forecast to surge by 49% over this year’s Christmas period according to Barclays research, representing a rise of 5.7 million consumers. 

In other news, Hereford's multi-million pound retail complex - The Old Market - has been crowned as the UK's best new shopping centre at the BCSC Gold Awards, London is to see more than 10m square feet of retail space in new developments with new shopping centre sites including Croydon, Battersea and Earls Court and extensions at Westfield London and Brent Cross malls helping to accelerate the supply of new stores, according to the latest Colliers Central London Retail Health Check report. 


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