high street

Consumers Rein Back Spending In January As Retail Sales Slow

Consumers Rein Back Spending In January As Retail Sales Slow

UK retailers got off to a bad start in 2017, as consumers reined in spending after the festive season. According to new research from the British Retail Consortium (BRC), although retail spending has increased 0.1% year-on-year, this represents a significant drop from the 1.7% increase in December, and is the sector’s weakest return since August 2016. Not surprisingly, consumers cutting down on non-essentials after Christmas is seen as the biggest factor – as shoppers had a traditionally quiet January. Despite consumers generally tightening their purse strings, sales of furniture rose towards the end of 2016 with spending on food rising 2% in January, while online sales jumped 8.6% as more shoppers ‘shunned the high street’ – signifying the importance of businesses selling onli... »

Proposal to Drop Small Business Rates Announced

Local council recommends linking business rates directly to turnover, making it fairer for small and mid-sized businesses trading on high street rather than online The Local Government Association (LGA) has released a proposal to lower business rates for small and mid-sized firms who trade mainly on the high street. Communicating on behalf of local councils, the LGA are concerned that small firms and businesses trading on the high street are being unfairly penalised by business rates; calling upon the government to explore linking rates to turnover and e-commerce to make rates fairer for businesses in local areas. Currently small firms and independent traders can pay significantly more in rates than internet start-ups and e-commerce businesses, regardless of turnover. Councils believe that... »

Can Social Media Save the High Street?

Can Social Media Save the High Street?

All the indications are that, without urgent action, the UK High Street could turn into a boarded-up ghost-town. In 2011, an estimated twenty shops closed every day, leaving one in seven UK stores empty. Retail guru Retail guru Mary Portas recently found that the proportion of High Street retail spend had dropped to 42%. And the latest Government report, Understanding High Street Performance (2.1Mb PDF), paints a similar picture of town centres in terminal decline, with a third of High Streets either “degenerating or failing”. An array of solutions are being touted, from a £10 million High Street Innovation Fund, to a moratorium on out-of-town shopping centres, and a “National Market Day”. Yet many retailers fear the rise of the internet could finish off the UK High Street; online retail s... »

High Street Liquidations Up as UK Dips Back into Recession

The number of retailers going bust has increased by 38% in the first quarter of 2012, according to research by accountancy firm, Wilkins Kennedy. It found that 670 retailers became insolvent in the first quarter of 2012 compared to 486 in the last quarter of 2011. And the research reveals that the number of individual retail businesses becoming insolvent is up 3% on the 652 that became insolvent in the first quarter of 2011. “The number of retail insolvencies in the first part of this year has been even higher than last year,” said Anthony Cork, partner at Wilkins Kennedy. “The double-dip has pulled the retail sector down sharply. It is hard to see consumer spending rebounding in the current environment of slow wage growth and worries over the Eurozone.” Big name in... »

High Street Spending at Lowest Level for 16 months

High street spending has slumped to its lowest level in 16 months as cautious shoppers stick to necessities, research by the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) has found. The CBI said that while 24 per cent of retailers saw sales volumes rise year-on-year in September, 39 per cent reported a fall, with the balance of -15 per cent indicating a drop in activity. Sales volumes are expected to decline at a similar rate in October, it said.  The figures represent the weakest reading for retail sales volumes since May last year and are likely to fuel concerns for overall economic growth in the third quarter. Rising unemployment, high prices and low wage growth were to blame for sluggish high street sales, said the CBI. “Shoppers are still clamping down on discretionary spending and fo... »

High-street to Benefit from Delayed Christmas Spending

The snowy weather earlier this month has delayed Christmas shopping this year, providing retailers with an opportunity to capitalise on a last-minute spending spree, Barclays has said. Research from Barclays predicts that total consumer spending over the Christmas period will reach £48.9 billion – an 8 per cent rise on last year. The survey also found three-quarters of money spent on debit cards this Christmas will be high-street sales, with just a quarter spent online. Barclays director of current accounts, Dan Wass, said that many customers have left their Christmas shopping late this year, due to bad weather conditions with sales expected to peak on 23 December. “The early snow this month meant that the start of December was a little quieter on the high street than expected. This ... »

Banks Gaining Monopoly on Lending, Warns FSB

Banks Gaining Monopoly on Lending, Warns FSB

High street banks could soon have a monopoly over lending to small businesses, the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) has warned. The business lobby group is concerned that recapitalisation, bank mergers and initiatives targeted at stimulating bank lending are stifling competition and choice for firms seeking finance.  “Business owners who are refused finance with a major lender have few alternative ways to secure credit,” said an FSB spokesman. “We want to see more alternative sources of finance provided locally, such as through post offices, financial intermediaries and Regional Development Agencies. “Struggling banks should not be sold off to other high street lenders, as this would create massive institutions which would curb competition,” he added.... »