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Market Commentary

​​​​​​​Weekly Retail & Leisure News - 04​​ October​​​, 2016​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​

Consumer confidence rebounds to pre-referendum levels

Consumer confidence rose across all measures in September, with sentiment back to its pre-EU referendum level, according to the GfK Consumer Confidence Index. The headline confidence index increased to -1 in September, up from -7 in August and -12 in July. Shoppers’ confidence in their personal finances increased by three points to -7, helped by rising employment, wages growing faster than prices, and low interest rates, as UK consumers continue to shrug off Brexit fears.

In other news, menswear retailer Moss Bros reported positive results, with LFLs increasing 4.9% and pre-tax profits soaring 30% for the 26 weeks to July 30, with both its retail and hire divisions performing well. Through initiatives such as ‘Tailor Me’, an authentic tailoring service, Moss Bros are hoping to improve customer engagement and the overall retail experience. The retailer’s investments in its omni-channel capabilities has also proven successful, as e-commerce sales increased by 9% during the period, with 25% of online sales coming from mobile and tablet browsers.

And finally, it has been a busy week for corporate activity in the sector, demonstrating the underlying attractiveness of strong and relevant UK retail brands. Jack Wills founder Peter Williams has joined forces with Liberty department store owner BlueGem to acquire the fashion chain, Jack Wills. The acquisition will allow the brand to grow in the UK and internationally, and the new owners plan to open 13 new stores this year. Cath Kidston has been sold to private equity firm Baring Asia, and Asian expansion is at the top of the agenda. 133 of Cath Kidston’s 226 stores are currently located across 15 Asian countries, and its first Indian branch is set to open this autumn. Lastly, The Cotswold Company’s owner Blackbird Retail Holdings has been sold to private equity firm True Capital. True Capital will accelerate Cotswold’s online growth, expand its product and category ranges and increase its showroom footprint across the UK.

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