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Deloitte comments on ONS retail sales

Commenting on today’s ONS retail sales figures, Oliver Vernon-Harcourt, head of retail at Deloitte, said: 

“Wet and windy weather, paired with ongoing cost pressures, created a perfect storm for the retail sector in February as it failed to register growth. Fewer consumers headed to the high street to spend. However, the non-food sector showed some green shoots of growth as consumers purchased new collections, particularly online.

“Brighter days are ahead, with the short-lived and shallow recession seemingly behind us, and inflation reaching its lowest rate for two years, real household incomes are expected to gradually recover in the coming months. The high street can be hopeful that fewer inflated prices will support greater spending and footfall, while warmer weather encourages consumers to do more outside the home.

“In the short term, retailers should focus on doing the basics well - great customer service, brilliant products, good availability and a continual focus on cost and working capital control. This will be key to be in the best shape for the anticipated consumer recovery later in 2024.”