Online retail has come up trumps this Christmas as physical store stores fell for many retailers in December.
Findings from accountancy firm BDO’s High Street Sales Tracker found that mid-market retailer’s sales were down 2.2 per cent year-on-year.
The survey tracks 85 retailers including French Connection, Gap, Hobbs, Snow + Rock, Paperchase and Conran stores.
Poor weather was blamed as many stayed at home and shopped online during the festive period.
The gloom spread to fashion sales which were down 4.6 per cent in December after consumers collectively spent £800m on fashion in November – a two per cent rise.
BDO explained: “Pent-up demand was expected to play a larger role as we moved closer to Christmas day but in reality it never fully took hold.”
The week before Christmas saw non-food sales surge 55.7 per cent on a like-for-like basis as click and collect and online sales drove an online shopping boom.
“There is little room for complacency, warned Don Williams, National Head of Retail and Wholesale at BDO LLP. “January is a cruel month for the high street as retailers are usually sitting on high cash holdings and low stock levels so they are particularly exposed at this time of year.”
Karmesh Vaswani, Vice President and Head of Europe – Retail, Consumer Goods and Logistics at Infosys said radically changing consumer expectations have disrupted the traditional model of retailing.
“Today, major retail chains need to create an ‘ideal store’ experience which meets the needs of local shoppers in each and every store,” he said. “This requires new forms of close collaboration between retailers and FMCG suppliers to get the tills ringing. Those in the industry that get this right will reap the rewards in terms of increased sales and improved customer loyalty.”