The UK’s retail industry is enjoying a much-needed boom after November saw the greatest hike in sales for over fourteen months. With Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and the recent return to growth seen in the British fashion industry, sales are rising and managed an impressive year-on-year increase of 1.7 percent in November. This figure, released by BDO, the advisory first responsible for accountancy and business, is strongly supported by the like-for-like growth enjoyed in the fashion industry, which boasted a 1.5 percent increase, the greatest seen since January.

In the wake of June’s Brexit vote, one of the major sustaining elements at work in Britain’s economy has been the robust growth seen in consumer spending. It remains to be seen if this boost can be maintained, however, as retailers have warned there are price hikes on the way in 2017. While this would seem to be an unavoidable by-product of Britain’s imminent exit from the European Union, the knock on effect will almost certainly squeeze consumer spending and diminish the healthy growth we have been seeing in recent months.Sophie Michael, BDO’s head of wholesale and retail, said in a statement that “consumer spending may appear to be robust for now as many people are having a final shopping spree while the economy is exceeding growth expectations”. She went on to comment on the growing pressures on UK retailers, stating that “the challenges facing retailers continue to mount, which will inevitably impact on retailers’ costs and consumers’ disposable income… the question is ‘when’, not ‘if’ the spending squeeze will come”.While the BDO’s numbers are encouraging, it is in contrast to other data collected in the retail industry, specifically figures coming from the British Retail Consortium, which were released earlier in December. There is a clear disparity in the data sets, which may well be due to the slightly extended length of time BDO had to gather sales figures and information before publishing their findings. With Cyber Monday falling at the very end of November it’s entirely possible the British Retail Consortium’s figures weren’t fully accounting for the boost to sales businesses experienced during this busy time.The full effects of Brexit on the UK’s retail industry have yet to be realised, but it’s possible that any headway made in sales will take a hit next year. If this is what the future has in store, we can only hope growth continues in such a strong fashion until that time.

 

Christmas Shopping in Oxford Street by Cristiano Betta licensed under Creative commons 4