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Market Commentary

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​Weekly Retail & Leisure News - 14​ December, 2015

U​​K retail sales dip in November, despite Black Friday effect

UK LFL retail sales decreased 0.4% in November from the previous year, according to the British Retail Consortium. On a total basis, sales were up 0.7%, against a 2.2% rise in November 2014; furniture and the home categories were the best performing sectors, with large and small electrical appliances performing particularly well, driven by Black Friday sales. Despite the boost towards the end of the month provided by Black Friday, an increase in ‘omni-channel’ shopping has resulted in a confused and complicated trading pattern over the crucial Christmas shopping period, making comparisons with previous years difficult.

At an aggregated level, Conlumino has forecast that total consumer spend over Christmas will increase by 1.3% this year, to £16bn. The main drivers behind the forecast are the improving macroeconomic conditions, increasing consumer confidence and lower food prices, all of which should boost retail spending. Specifically, Conlumino forecast spending on gifts to grow by 2.1% to reach £9bn, food and groceries are predicted to grow by 0.3% to reach £5bn, and seasonal, non-food products, such as cards and wraps, are expected to reach £2bn, an increase of 0.1%.

In other positive news for the UK retail sector, a number of retailers announced positive trading figures this week. House of Fraser revealed sales jumped 4.6% in the 13 weeks to the end of October, helped by a continued impressive online performance, with e–commerce sales up 27.7%. The White Company's operating profits rose to £12.8m from £6.5m for the full year ending March 28, an increase of 97%, as total sales were up 13.8% to £163.6m. And Mulberry’s pre-tax profits increased to £0.1m for the six months ending September 30; revenues grew by 5% to £67.8m, and UK retail LFL sales were up by 14% to £40.4m.​​​​

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