Retail market update February

Published February 22nd, 2017

Annual inflation is showing an upward trend as measured by CPI. In January it was at 1.8% up from 1.6% in December 2016. However, this is still lower than the government’s target rate of 2%. Fuel and food have been identified as the main drivers as Sterling has remained weak. Not all sectors have been affected as prices fell in the clothing sector whilst sales also dipped.

The main talking point at the moment is the potential effects of the forthcoming business rates revaluations. The government’s plans are being challenged from many diverse areas. Small businesses are particularly worried and critics are pressing for fundamental reform of an ‘outdated system’ that ignores the rise of e-commerce.

Across the retail sector there are mixed messages with organisations such as Iceland performing very well with market share and sales up and luxury brand Aspinal opening a new flagship store in London whilst Laura Ashely have issued a profits warning and Thomas Cook have announced their intention to close 39 stores in the UK.