'Consumer confidence' low in run up to Christmas, says BRC

'Aggressive discounting' looking likely as shoppers flock online
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The British Retail Consortium has released figures which it says paint a worrying picture of the lead up to Christmas from a retail perspective.

Echoing concerns of BikeBiz forum regulars and further to recent profit warnings across the retail spectrum, the BRC has stated that UK retail sales values were 0.6 per cent lower on a like-for-like basis from October 2010, when sales had risen 0.8 per cent. 

Despite total sales increases of 1.5 per cent, the Consortium hinted that figures were stagnant on a year on year basis, with CEO of Showpow, Kevin Flood commenting: “The figures indicate that consumer confidence continues to have a significant impact at the tills and the news of rocketing inflation won’t do much to encourage shoppers to recommence their spending. This is especially the case if they feel they are paying over the odds for such items."

Internet, mail order and phone sales growth did pick up in October after suffering through September, with sales up 11.5 per cent over this time last year.

Pointing to consumer's increased use of social media when shopping, Flood added: “The pressure is on the retailers in the approach to Christmas, as many are finding that more aggressive discounting is necessary to prevent what could be a difficult season. With purse strings tightened, shoppers are using social networking to share the deals they have discovered. The retailers who make social shopping accessible will benefit from natural, word of mouth exposure."

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