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Consumers Hold Back on Purchases as Brexit Uncertainty Reigns

07 October 2019 - 15:17 by Graham Miller

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A study from BDO has shown that shoppers are keeping a tight hold of their purse strings at the moment rather than splashing out on the high street or via safe shopping online as they wait to see how Brexit plays out over the coming weeks.

Analysts found that there was a 3.1 per cent dip in bricks and mortar sales activity last month, and while there was a rise in e-commerce sales, this was not enough to create growth across the industry as a whole.

The web has expanded its influence over retail in the UK to the point where around a quarter of all sales are now attributable to online stores. However, Brexit-based uncertainty has taken its toll across all platforms, and the next few weeks will be vital for the future of retail in particular as well as the country as a whole.

The report also argued that although the short-term prospects for the industry were uncertain, it was important not to lose focus on the long-term need to keep investing in new technologies and experiences that will help to generate sales growth in the coming years, no matter the outcome of the last-minute scramble to deal with Brexit.

Once again the issue of business rates was raised, with retail experts arguing that politicians need to do more to make operating in the retail space more viable across the country, especially when it comes to combating high street store closures.

Ultimately, whatever happens on the 31st of October, it is likely that the weeks following the Brexit deadline will see an uptick in sales, simply because this is the start of the festive shopping season and people will be looking to snap up gifts and goods ahead of Christmas.