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Experts Warn of Dire Straits for Retail Sector

23 July 2019 - 07:37 by David Aiken

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Studies published this week suggest that the UK’s retailers could be facing up to a tough period of trading, largely due to a lack of confidence amongst consumers that is stifling spending both on the high street and via safe shopping online.

KPMG analysts revealed that the market performed more poorly than originally projected during Q2 this year, according to Internet Retailing. This means that the overall health of the industry is at its lowest level for seven years, with more woes expected to befall it as the delayed Brexit deadline looms this autumn.

Meanwhile, a separate report from Deloitte pinned the current level of consumer confidence at minus eight per cent, suggesting that there has been a growing decline in the positivity of the outlook that most Brits share at the moment.

This study considers a number of metrics, including the employment prospects of participants, the amount of spare cash they have available to spend on luxuries and leisure, as well as things like education.

Interestingly enough, the UK’s job market is relatively stable at the moment, with employment sitting at a promisingly low level that has not been achieved for 45 years.

There are other issues to take into account, such as debt levels and interest rates as well as the fact that property prices have been growing more slowly than in recent years.

Ultimately, this uncertainty and lack of confidence amongst consumers will not be eliminated until a decision is made around the UK’s exit from the EU. A change of prime minister and the ongoing negotiations over a Brexit deal have done little to instil a positive outlook in most people, and retailers are the first to feel the pinch, as they have done during crises in the past.