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Market Commentary

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​Weekly Retail & Leisure News - 28 November, 2017

Online boosts Black Friday spending

UK consumers are forecast to have spent just under £2.6bn in store and online during Black Friday, 8% more than last year, according to early figures from VoucherCodes and the Centre for Retail Research. Barclaycard also estimated that Black Friday purchases finished up 7% on 2016. Not all retailers participated in the event, with big names such as Marks and Spencer and Primark opting out of the annual discounting event.

Figures have revealed that the growth in Black Friday spending is likely to have been primarily driven by online, as footfall nationally in physical retail outlets was down 3.6% compared with 2016, according to data from Springboard. Black Friday is now an established retail date, but there is a growing belief that increased periods of discounting are becoming unsustainable. The jury is also out as to whether it simply brings forward spending rather than increasing overall sales. As always, any judgment on retail sales trends needs to be made over the whole Christmas period.

And finally, the Chancellor has brought forward a planned cut to business rate rises by two years to 2018. From April, rates will rise in line with the lower CPI measure of inflation, rather than RPI. The move could provide a £2.3bn to businesses over the next five years. Such investment is a welcome relief to the retail industry, as consumer spending, which accounts for nearly two-thirds of the UK economy, is squeezed further by inflation which continues to outstrip wage growth, and ongoing economic and political uncertainty.

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