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Experts Expect Ongoing Slump in Retail Spending

31 January 2020 - 14:07 by Graham Miller

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January has been another muted month for activity in the UK’s retail market, with analysts at the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) confirming that this trend looks set to remain in effect going forwards.

Internet Retailing reports that although the CBI found that people were spending less at the moment, bucking trends usually seen at this time of year, there are signs that consumers are becoming at least a little more confident than they have been in recent months.

Spokesperson Anna Leach said that the festive season was tricky both for high street outlets and for firms that offer safe shopping online, with this state of affairs unlikely to change in the short term.

This warning of seemingly perpetual problems for the UK’s retail market is counterpointed by statistics from Deloitte which suggest that there has been a small bump to consumer confidence in the past quarter, up by half a percentage point compared with the same period a year earlier.

A growth in optimism amongst shoppers at the start of a new year is not unusual, but it does seem to be an especially important sign in 2020 given that the uncertainty surrounding the country’s economic future in the wake of Brexit is still a pervading topic of debate.

Ultimately, experts agree that even if consumers are voicing their growing confidence at the moment, this will not mean that there is an immediate uptick in retail spending to go along with it.

There are also signs that outside of the retail sector complications are being encountered by consumers which will no doubt impact their spending habits. Confidence in job security is down by five per cent, and with job losses expected in retail this year it can only be a sign of uncertainty afflicting other areas.