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Retail Sales Rebound Before Expected Bills Spike In April

As an e-commerce fashion photography service, it is imperative that we digest and reflect on the latest industry news. This month we’ve spent time focusing on UK retail results announced by the ONS and we will reflect on them again here. However, we will also look at what this means moving forward given significant economic changes coming in the form of bill increases this April for businesses and consumers.

Let’s start off by going over the ONS results for January and what kind of impact this has had on those working in retail, fashion and e-commerce fashion photography in London and across the UK.

Retail sales see rebound despite challenging times for clothing stores

As the heading suggests, retailers in the UK saw an unexpected rebound in January, driven in no small part by discounted products found online. This increase of 0.5% compares with a decrease in December of 1.2% and a forecast by analysts of -0.2%.

Here are some key figures:

  • Non-store sales volumes increased by 2%.
  • Department stores saw an increase of 0.8%.
  • Grocery stores store a drop of 0.5%.
  • Clothing stores saw a drop after four consecutive months of growth.

Unfortunately, this doesn’t hide the trend of decline seen by the experts and as we move on to discuss the next phase of rising costs and increased bills, it is hard to see where the good news will come from.

What has the reaction been from industry experts?

The head of the British Retail Consortium stated that whilst the January results helped see a positive start to the year, consumer confidence continues to fall and high costs remain. This will lead to a tough time ahead for households.

Likewise, the head of retail at Deloitte did highlight the good news in January and the potential this has moving forward, the reality is there will be tough times ahead for those operating in the retail sector and that includes e-commerce fashion photography businesses too.

Bill increases on the horizon take away the shine from recent results

There is a growing call for maintaining government support in light of the planned drop in energy bill support this April. Experian collected data from 1.2 million small companies and found an alarming 30% of them felt they would be classed as “heightened risk” when these changes are made in April.

This means almost one in three small businesses could potentially not be able to cover operating costs in the coming months of 2023. They also point to the fact that currently, larger firms are holding on to more of their cash and it has become harder for small businesses to get paid. This could be a disastrous combination for those operating in retail without the means to weather the coming financial challenges.

What happens next?

All of those with an interest in retail, fashion and e-commerce fashion photography will need to look carefully at the market, consumer confidence and their own costs in the coming months.

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