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Retail Update - May 2017


Posted At: 19 May 2017 16:32 PM
Related Categories: Administrations, General, Retail Statistics


Following on from the administrations seen in March, April saw one high-profile retailer fall – that of Jaeger. Administrators announced the closure of 20 stores and the loss of 253 jobs shortly after Easter, and as yet, a buyer has not been found for the chain.

The high street benefitted in April from the late timing of Easter as evidenced by the figures from the Office for National Statistics. UK shoppers bought 2.3% more in April than they did in March. On an annual basis sales grew by 4%, helping to buoy the economy after a weak March - retail sales in the three months to April were up 0.3% compared with the previous three-month period. This suggests shoppers are not cutting back despite rising inflation, which climbed to its highest level in three and a half years to 2.7% in the 12 months to April, driven by the fall in the pound and consequent increase in the cost of imported goods.

E-commerce sales also grew by 19% in April, with shoppers collectively spending £1bn a week online during the month - accounting for 15.6% of all retail spending, excluding automotive fuel. That’s up from a 14% share last year.
Not surprisingly, footfall was also up in April. Figures from the British Retail Consortium and Springboard’s retail footfall monitor reveal that footfall in high streets was up 2.3% while footfall in retail parks climbed by 2.7%. However, footfall in shopping centres edged down 0.6%.

Continuing the Easter effect on the high street, figures from the Coffer Peach Business Tracker show that managed pub and restaurant groups were back in growth in April, with collective like-for-like sales up 4.4% compared with the same month last year.

In other news, the surge in openings of low-cost fitness clubs has driven gym usage in the UK to a record high. Memberships last year rose from 9.2 million to 9.7 million, boosting penetration from 14.3% to 14.9%, equivalent to one in seven people. According to the 2017 State of the UK Fitness Industry Report, the number of fitness facilities grew by 4.6% to 6,728 in the 12 months to the end of March. The number of budget gyms passed 500, with the sector now accounting for 15% of the market’s value but 35% of private sector memberships. The value of the market as a whole is estimated at £4.7 billion, up 6.3%, with the sector set to reach several milestones in the next 12 months: £5 billion by value, 7,000 gyms and 10 million memberships. All of which is good news for those involved in finding innovative use for retail space.

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The opinions expressed herein are the personal opinion of the author and are not intended as statements of fact and do not represent the view of SnapShop or Pragma in any way.


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