Deloitte comments on latest ONS retail sales data
21 March 2013
Commenting on today’s ONS retail sales figures, Ian Geddes, UK head of retail at Deloitte said: “It is clearly good news for the retail sector that both monthly and year-on-year figures show an uplift in sales. However, caution should be exercised as seasonal discount activity continued into February, with non-food sale prices actually falling by 0.9%. The period measured does not include the last week of February when poor weather hit, so next month’s figures may be affected.
“Conditions remain tough, with no margin for error. Department stores continue to deliver strong results. However, some sub-sectors, especially electrical, are seeing extremely varied performances. Those selling coveted technology gadgets, including tablets and smartphones, are enjoying growth, whilst those without struggle. The gap between the winners and losers is widening and so more casualties can be expected. However, the winners are benefiting from the closure of their competitors as they pick up the demand left behind, boosting their market share.
“Yesterday’s Budget provided little respite for the high street. Any retailer expecting consumers to have more money in their pockets as a result of this Budget may be disappointed. Some measures announced will reduce the tax burden on lower and middle income families, including the personal allowance increases (to £10,000) and a freeze of petrol duty. However, this is unfortunately more than offset by reductions to tax credits and state benefits which will take effect from next year. Nevertheless, there was some good news for the sector. The UK corporation tax rate will be further reduced to 20% from April 2015. This will significantly benefit UK-based retailers, which represent some of the largest UK corporation tax payers.”
Notes to editors
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The information contained in this press release is correct at the time of going to press.
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