The Latest UK Retail Sales Figures Point to the Need for E-commerce Agility

17 February, 2023

The UK Office for National Statistics (ONS) just released the latest Retail Sales figures, and while Retail sales across the UK were stronger than expected in January, the environment remains challenging. ONS Director of Economic Statistics Darren Morgan said: “After December’s steep fall, retail sales picked up slightly in January, although the general trend remains one of decline.”

Our managing director of Europe, Philip Hall also commented, “It’s been a challenging start to the year for many retailers and brands. Consumer confidence has taken a hit, and lower discretionary spending reflects the fact that consumers are battening down the hatches in response to economic uncertainty.   With the uncertainty set to continue at least for the near term, brands and retailers are focused on profitability over everything else. Ecommerce will be a big focus of conversation for those looking for ways to adapt quickly to shifting demand patterns, maintain profitability and meet consumers where they shop”.

“As every penny counts, consumers are more price conscious than ever, with some looking in-store, then checking prices online before making a decision to buy. Retailers and brands are also assessing every channel’s performance and honing their marketing strategies to avoid any wastage. Any bets taken in the next few months will need to be carefully calculated as the margins are so fine. Retailers are leaning into unowned inventory to meet customer needs more profitably, and one option that brands are exploring is consolidating stock pools. This minimises risk as if one retailer sells out of a product, then the brand can shift over any excess stock to ensure the customer can still make the purchase”.

Innovative ecommerce approaches, access to an extensive commerce network of brands and retailers, and data-driven insights are key to increasing retail agility and flexibility. The data shows this is more important now than ever before.

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