Nearly two-thirds of retailers expect retail sales to be lower in 2011 than they were this year, according to new research conducted by the British Retail Consortium (BRC).
A report published on Monday December 27th by the BRC entitled Retail Prospects for 2011, found that only 18 per cent of the retailers surveyed predict an improvement on trade levels next year.
Although sales may not increase many retailers are still confident enough in their business’s strength to increase their workforce, with 47 per cent planning to create more jobs and 24 per cent expecting to employ fewer staff members.
Stephen Robertson, Director General of the BRC, commented: “Our snapshot shows retailers expect a difficult December to be followed by a tough 2011. They believe the VAT rise will contribute to higher prices and, with fears about Government cuts and the wider economy, people will be put off spending.
“But the positive news is retailers have their eyes on the horizon and are demonstrating more faith in longer-term prospects. An encouraging proportion intends to increase investment and create jobs.”
Bad weather hampered many days of prime retailing leading up to Christmas, but determined present seekers and early discounting look like ensuring that trade levels will remain high for the remainder of 2010.
Robertson added: “Despite the combination of snow and concerns about their money and job prospects, most customers were still determined to buy the things they wanted for Christmas and did seize the opportunities they had to shop.
“It was usually a case of the timing of shopping moving around rather than being lost altogether. The disruption won’t have helped sales but my hope is that the overall impact will turn out to be less severe than some fear.”