Modest Christmas cheer for UK retail with Q4 sales increase forecast

Total UK retail sales are expected to increase as retailers head into the ‘golden quarter’ of 2018. GlobalData’s sales forecast shows a Q4 rise of two per cent to £98.8bn for the three months to the end of 2018.

While it has been a year of uncertainty in the retail sector with unsteady figures and store closures so far, the ‘golden quarter’ offers retailers the opportunity to gain sales from consumers who are finally ready to prioritise shopping. But low consumer confidence and confusion over Brexit will inhibit big-ticket spend, and trading down to value retailers is becoming more widespread, according to GlobalData.

Non-food spend is forecast to grow at 1.6 per cent, and with Q4 accounting for a third of annual electricals spend, the period offers retailers the best opportunity to capture spend as shoppers benefit from discounting periods such as Black Friday and early Boxing Day sales. Less generous discounting last year deterred shoppers from splurging on these occasions, but volumes are forecast to grow this year as cost prices level.

Elsewhere, Christmas is set to be the icing on the cake with more consumers than ever choosing to buy online for the festive period, rounding off a strong year for the UK online market in which multichannel retailers have consistently reported robust digital growth.