UK: Retailers should be "modestly optimistic"
UK retailers have cause to be "modestly optimistic" for 2013 as consumer confidence begins to recover, according to research released by Mintel.
The research firm today (25 January) said it expects retail sales growth of 2.5-3% for 2013.
"Consumers will be cautious, but barring a storm from the Eurozone, they should be prepared to spend more," said Mintel's director of retail research, Richard Perks.
While Mintel is optimistic for the future of the high street, retailers will need to have a strong multi-channel offer with "first class service," he said.
"Consumers still want to save, but after that the winners in an upturn will be in leisure, so retailers and high streets must respond with a more dynamic environment.
"The high street is changing - it should be more than a place to just buy stuff, it needs a greater sense of theatre. High streets are places to meet friends and linger, they need to offer so much more than shopping. So, high streets need investment and if they get that then they have a rosy future."
Perks said Mintel is optimistic for the future of the high street because it already seems that the combination of the internet and stores is the one which consumers favour most - evidenced by the fact that multi-channel retailers grew faster than the pure plays over Christmas and the click and collect option is becoming increasingly popular.
"It's not how you buy, but who you buy from that matters. To the customer it is all just shopping."
He said retailers recorded a "good" Christmas with growth in volumes and value despite comparisons with a strong December 2011.
"Our research looking at the consumer and Christmas shopping also finds some evidence that consumers were a little less cautious than last year.
"More than a quarter (28%) of consumers made a list and stuck to it compared to 32% in 2011, while less people had a budget and kept to it - 24% compared to 27% in 2011," said Perks.
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