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Market Commentary

​​Weekly Retail & Leisure News - 22 June, 2015

Further evidence of strengthening UK Retail market

Continuing a sustained period of YOY growth, the volume of retail sales in May 2015 was up by 4.6% compared with May 2014, according to the ONS. This was the 26th consecutive month of YOY growth, the longest period of sustained growth since May 2008. While slowing clothing sales contributed to marginal 0.2% growth from April’s sales volumes, there was encouragement for the food sector, with volumes up 0.6% from April. Overall, the prospects for retail sales and consumer spending look bright, as consumer confidence remains buoyant, employment is high and rising, and real wage growth kicks in.

Further positive news for the sector came from Marks & Spencer this week, with the opening of its largest station-based store in the centre of Waterloo Station. The new 9,500 sq ft store was created by extending a former M&S Simply Food, and now houses more than 5,000 sq ft of general merchandise, including an extensive range of menswear, womenswear and accessories, in addition to an in-store bakery and an expanded food section. The Waterloo store is expected to be one of the strongest performing M&S station branches.

Elsewhere, Burberry has opened an all-day British cafe at its global West End flagship store on Regent Street. The cafe, called Thomas's after the founder of the brand, is in a new two storey ‘gifting area’, selling home furnishings, games, stationery and travel accessories. This move further highlights the importance of retailers continually redefining their stores, and proactively responding to changing consumer demands for in-store services and experience, one of the themes covered in our Redefining Retail Places project.

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