UK Retail Rankings 2012
The retail sector remained challenging in 2010, although generally speaking it enjoyed a narrow recovery on the much harsher climate in 2009. January aside, which was impacted by the bad weather, the retail sector enjoyed growth in both volume and value terms, even in December which was again hit by inclement weather conditions. For the full year 2010, retail sales rose 1.1% in value terms (including fuel). With fuel stripped out this rise slipped to 0.9%.
However, the first half of 2011 remained challenging. While the sector enjoyed strong growth in January (+3.6% in volume terms year-on-year) this would have been aided by the weak comparatives due to the bad weather. In the subsequent five months, the sector endured three real terms contractions, one static performance and just one month of growth year-on-year, which reflected the mini-boost the sector enjoyed from the Royal Wedding in April.
The number of companies falling into administration in 2011 rose above the comparative numbers for both 2009 and 2010. However, as we have often said, recessions will inevitably result in a shrinking high street but that is not always a bad thing. Inefficient retailers are often replaced by those more capable of servicing the needs of consumers, as has been the case with the former Woolworths sites being operated much more effectively by the discounters.
The outlook for 2012 remains uncertain, with consumers likely to remain cautious through much of the year. This will continue to put retailers under pressure.
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