For retail this was a Christmas with many changes

The first change was positive one in that, for the first time since 2008, consumers entered the festive period with a slight growth in their disposable incomes and with a more confident outlook on the economy. This, coupled with lower fuel prices and deflation in the grocery sector, meant that many people had a little more to spend and were willing to spend it. While consumers did not go crazy, they spent more on gifts and showed a greater willingness to buy more premium items in food and in fashion. This trend saw retailers like Fortnum & Mason (like-for-like festive sales up 18.3%), Ted Baker (+22.8%) and House of Fraser (+8%) do well over Christmas.

The other big change, of course, was in when spending was made. The impact of Black Friday – which fell at the end of November – was massive. Although many retailers saw big sales spikes on Black Friday it is now clear that some of this came from sales brought forward from December and the weeks closer o Christmas. As a result, although December trade was positive it was not quite as strong as initially anticipated. This shift was evident in the BRC retail sales figures, which saw total sales in December rise by just 1% after a stronger increase of 2.2% in November. It was also borne out in the fact that John Lewis, like many other retailers, had its biggest grossing week around Black Friday when £179.1m was taken, eclipsing even the week before Christmas, which is, traditionally, the highest sales week of the year.

One of the consequences is that many retailers have weakened their margins and profitability by selling high volumes of stock at a discount.

While some retailers were celebrating sales spikes, the grocery sector went into Christmas on a flat note and didn’t change its tune. Growth in grocery was virtually non-existent and, as a result, it looks like the main players have suffered a further weakening of sales. On a like-for-like basis, Morrisons’ sales fell 3.1%, Sainsbury’s fell by 1.7% and Tesco’s by a slightly better than anticipated -0.3%. The good news from the sector is that outside of the middle part of the market, the discounters and higher end retailers like Waitrose, where like-for-like sales increased by 2.8% over Christmas, did well.

So, this Christmas delivered a mixed bag of fortunes for retail with winners and some big losers. We expect this pattern of polarised performance to be something that continues well into 2015.

Richmond Events' Business Panel Report - Economic Outlook

The latest Richmond Events' business panel report on the economic outlook is now available. Please read on for headline findings and to download the free report.

Go to post Continue Reading

Richmond Events’ Business Panel Report - Economic Outlook

The annual economic outlook survey from the Richmond Events’ Business Panel is now available.

Headline findings include:-

  • Government’s handling of the economy: 3% rate the government’s handling of the economy as very good, 44% as acceptable, 41% could have been better and 8% as shocking.
  • Interest rates: the panel predicts interest rates will be at (average) 0.8% in 1 year’s time and 1.65% in 3 years’ time.
  • Growth: Not a single respondent expects the economy to grow significantly over the coming year, whilst 30% expect it to grow marginally. A further 52% expect it to stay much the same as it is now, whilst 16% expect it to shrink a little and 2% shrink a lot.
  • Headcount: 25% of organisations have increased headcount over the last year. The number who have reduced headcount, and may do so again, has fallen slightly: 34% to 31%.
  • Turnover: just under half expect their turnover to increase, with a further third expecting it to remain the same. As a result, those who feel their turnover will probably reduce comprise only 13% of the panel.
  • Profit: Less than half the panel feel their organisation’s profit will increase in 2013, slightly down from last year. 14% feel their profits will fall this year - 5% less than last year. 4% are undecided.

For a full copy of this free report, please contact David Clark.

Recent Comments

Powered by Disqus


. 2012 2017 agencies agency arcadia association Attitudes Aurora BBC BELFOR Bootle brand Bristol budget business career Case Study CDF CDF11 CDF12 CEO change ChangeManagement chemistry Christmas CIO client clients Clifford CLO CLO10 CLO11 coaching Communications competition Conference Confirmed corporate Culture customer David Smith defence Delegate Delegates development digital Digitial Director drp ecommerce Economic Economy education employees engagement Erik EU eurozone explorer FDF11 FDF11. FDF12 Feedback Forum Gamification government growth headcount HR HRF HRF11 HRForum HRL hrl11 HRU14 information in-house Insight internal internet IPA ISBA IT ITD11 ITDF jo Justin Keynote kid King leadership learning Leeds Left Lindkvist London London 2012 M&A Magnus Management Manchester market marketers Marketing Marketing Society Media Metrics Michael MKT11 MKT12 moran neil network Networking new newbiz NHS opportunities Organization Outlook panel Performance Photos Places Planning Pope Portillo post-event PR Press pricing Professional Development Professor profit Qualman quote readership Recognition Recruitment reference referendum referrals Report reputation Research Retail Retention Review Rewards Richmond Richmondevents roadshow Roger Rosie saunders Scotland service Social Social Media sourcing Speakers stats structure Succession supplier Suppliers Swale talent tax testimonial training transport turnover UK Business Panel updates US US Business Panel Utility Warehouse WD-40 welfare Wetherall workshop

Richmond Events on twitter

General Enquiries:

T: +44 (0) 20 8487 2200
F: +44 (0) 20 8487 2300

T: +1 212 651 8700
F: +1 212 651 8701

T: +41 79 417 34 93
F: +41 61 544 74 44


T: +39 02 312009
F: +39 02 3313976

Get in touch

 Security code

© Richmond Events Ltd 1998 - 2011 Registered No. 2693237