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UK retail health continues to stagnate: think tank

Nov '18
Courtesy: Retail Think tank
Courtesy: Retail Think tank
UK retail health in the 2018 third quarter stayed stagnant despite the summer boost that benefitted some retailers, according to the KPMG-Ipsos Retail Think Tank (RTT). The latest Retail Health Index (RHI) score of 79 marks the 10th consecutive quarter of negative or flat performance. Demand is volatile, while margins are under pressure with rising costs.

The performance reinforces the industry’s ongoing struggle with structural change as well as the perilous trading environment, RTT said in a press release.

Success in the fourth quarter will be determined by ongoing Brexit negotiations and retailers’ ability to navigate the economic headwinds, it said.

“While the start of the quarter was boosted by spectacular weather – benefitting categories like grocery and even apparel – overall retail health was lacklusture.... Any improvements made by retailers were very quickly suppressed by issues elsewhere,” said Paul Martin, RTT co-chair and UK head of retail at KPMG.

“The quarter....ended up benign rather than bloody,” said Tim Denison, RTT co-chair and head of retail intelligence at Ipsos Retail Performance.

RTT believes that retail health is likely to decline by one index point in the fourth quarter, bringing the RHI to 78, a score that would mark the poorest ‘golden quarter’ since the retail health index began in 2006, the press release said.

Some RTT members were more optimistic about the final quarter, believing that Black Friday and Christmas will result in increased retail traffic. The majority, however, cited both the impact of Brexit and the broader economic environment as key causes for concern. (DS)

Fibre2Fashion News Desk – India

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