There were more losers than winners amongst independent retailers in the last quarter of 2012.
The latest figures from the British Independent Retailers Association show that six in 10 independents ended up with less in the till than a year before, with only four in 10 gaining. Overall, that equated to a 2.45% year-on-year drop in turnover.
Cards, stationery, crafts and hobbies was the only product sector covered by the survey to show growth, up 6.36%. Cookshop and housewares independents were down 3.37% and DIY/hardware shops by 0.49%. Big-ticket items furniture, floorcoverings, beds and soft furnishings came off worst, with sales down 6.55%.
Nevertheless, the figures for Q4 are actually better than in Q3, and also significantly better than those returned by some of the big multiples, says Bira. Part of the background to this is sales volume: while some supermarkets turned in 2%-plus like-for-like growth this was achieved against British Retail Consortium food inflation figures above 4%. Meanwhile, non-food product inflation is negative.
Despite this, those independents surveyed are mostly apprehensive about the year ahead: 55.16% said they were anxious against 43.65% who were reasonably confident. Only 1.19% were very confident.