Almost 45,000 UK retailers in financial distress this Christmas

Wed, 27 Dec 2017

It has been revealed that as many as 45,000 UK retailers are in financial distress this Christmas.

Sales have been affected by bad weather and a low number of high-street shoppers. Overall, retailers are set to face a particularly disappointing few weeks of trading following a relatively successful Black Friday at the end of November.

Julie Palmer, a retail expert at Begbies Traynor, said: “The increasingly frantic promotional and discounting activity we are seeing this week across the high street is simply not having the same effect on consumers as it once did,” she said.

“UK shoppers are savvier than ever and prepared to search online for the best deals, having grown wise to the gimmicks and discounts on offer in store, which many now realise may not be as good as they first appear.”

High street stores have turned to making heavy discounts in an attempt to draw custom, but there continues to be an almost 10 per cent fall in the number of shoppers out on the high street, driven by a 21% drop on Sunday 10 December, when there was heavy snow across the UK.

Online retailers are experiencing the most sales growth, with a 12 per cent lift on last year, but even so, a CBI survey of 109 companies this month suggested that online sales on Black Friday and Cyber Monday were “unspectacular”.

Palmer said: “I fear UK retailers are now in the midst of a perfect storm, with November’s interest rate decision, rising inflation, falling real wages, reduced credit availability and increasing Brexit uncertainty all combining to put unprecedented strain on household budgets this Christmas season, pushing consumer confidence to an all-time low.”

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