World cup fever has given something for electrical retailers to celebrate against a tough trading environment, as football euphoria has fuelled a massive uptick in large-screen TV sales since the start of the tournament.
Dixons Carphone has said sales of large screen TVs – that’s TVs bigger than 55in – at Currys PC World have been “brilliant”, as official figures show that retail sales across the UK rose in June.
Over the past four weeks, large-screen TV sales at Currys PC World increased by 40 per cent, while sales have jumped 33 per cent since the Euro 2016 competition – the last time UK football fans had an excuse to upgrade.
Dixons Carphone also revealed that there had also been “fantastic” growth in 75in- plus TVs as consumers trade up to super-size screens. Over the past four weeks, like-for-like sales of these super-size TVs were up 270 per cent at the firm.
The spike in TV sales has supported a rise in June retail sales in the UK, the British Retail Consortium (BRC) has said, but cautions retailers not to rely on the “feel-good” factor fuelled by the football tournament and the warm weather for continued growth.
BRC chief executive Helen Dickinson warned: “With household incomes still barely growing faster than inflation, conditions for consumers and retailers remain extremely tough. And things could get tougher: once the euphoria of sporting success subsides, without a deal on Brexit, shoppers face the prospect of significant price increases and shortages of everyday goods.”
The latest figures from the British Retail Consortium (BRC) and KPMG showed that total retail sales rose by 2.3 per cent across the UK. This is more than the two per cent rise in the same month last year.
The boost, mainly driven by beer, barbecues and big-screen TVs, comes after one of the best months in recent years in May, which coincided with rising temperatures and a celebratory atmosphere off the back of the royal wedding.
Food and drink seem to be the big beneficiaries, growing over the three months to June on a like-for-like and total basis, while in-store non-food items over the same period declined 1.4 per cent on a total and almost double that on a like-for-like basis.
Information technology firm Fujitsu also urged retailers not to rely on seasonal factors to overcome a difficult trading environment with inflation and low-wage growth threatening spending in the long-term.
Investing in technology to offer a more appealing shopper experience is key to surviving and overcoming the deep obstacles physical stores face today.
“In our own research, we’ve found that eight out of 10 consumers would actually spend more with retailers that have a better technology offering,” said Adrian West, director of commercial sector at Fujitsu UK.
“This represents a huge opportunity for retailers to tap into the two key drivers of 21st century retail spending – convenience and experience. Many consumers now prioritise flexibility over cost, especially as they’ve become accustomed to services such as Amazon and Uber that wrap around their needs.
“That’s why retailers must be visionary in their use of tech and give shoppers what they want, before when they want it.”
• Picture courtesy of Hisense, official TV sponsor for the 2018 Fifa World Cup