A majority of retailers expect Christmas business to be no worse than last year, despite the financial pressures of the last 12 months and the recent disruptive snowfalls.
The British Retail Consortium’s Christmas Trading Snapshot Survey, published today, shows that almost two-thirds of retail businesses responding think sales will be the same or better than last Christmas – 29% expect no change and 35% think it will be better. However, 36% are braced for figures to be down.
Seventy one per cent of retailers think the January rise in VAT to 20% means customers are bringing forward purchases, and more than eight out of 10 expect the change to have a negative impact on sales in January.
The BRC also says that stores are offering exceptional numbers of promotions and discounts to customers – 41% are providing more than last year.
The BRC’s director general, Stephen Robertson, says that with inflation now at 3.2%, growth of anything less than that at Christmas would be a fall in real terms.