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US retail sales up 4.5% YoY in 1H 2018: Report
Jul '18
US retail sales up 4.5% YoY in 1H 2018: Report
US retail sales are up by 4.5 per cent year over year in the first half of 2018, according to a recent report. Higher gas prices failed to dent discretionary retail sales. Store closures by major US retailers have reached 4,136 to date. It is estimated that 2018 will end with 8,000–10,000 store closures, exceeding the 7,066 closures recorded for 2017.

In the UK, store closure numbers have surged, as per the 2018 Midyear Wrap-Up by Coresight Research, formerly Fung Global Retail & Technology. So far, 934 announced closures have been recorded, compared to the 1,005 closures that were recorded for 2017 as a whole. This suggests that the number of UK store closures for the full year could almost double.

“In the US, the acceleration in store closures began in earnest in 2017. In the UK, closures have taken hold this year. As of June 29, we have recorded 934 announced closures in our week-by-week tracking of UK store closings by major retailers. This midyear total is already comparable to the 1,005 closures we recorded for 2017 as a whole, suggesting that we could see around double the rate of closures for the full year,” says the report.

Store closures are more a mark of undifferentiated—and in a number of cases, heavily indebted—retailers, rather than underlying weakness in retail, notes the report. The popular narrative is that these retailers’ woes are indicative of ‘bleak’ times for an ‘embattled’ retail sector, driven by shoppers cutting their spending, but the truth is that UK retail sales continue to grow above inflation and many retailers are flourishing.

Department store retailer Target will invest $3.5 billion this year to remodel stores, open new-format stores and expand digital fulfillment, says the report. German e-commerce company Zalando remains on course to double sales by 2020, the report adds. (KD)

Fibre2Fashion News Desk – India

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