Commenting on the latest ONS retail sales and GfK’s consumer confidence insights, Don Williams, Retail Partner at KPMG, said.
“The latest retail sales and consumer confidence figures continue to point to the release of pent up demand post lockdown. This is no doubt welcome news for those capturing the uptick, but consumer confidence remains extremely volatile.
“The pandemic’s grasp on our daily lives in the longer-term is only just starting to become apparent, whether it be holiday plans thrown in the air, key purchases put on hold or job security questioned as the furlough scheme starts to unwind. The ‘Eat out to help out’ scheme may have consumers returning to restaurants thankfully, no doubt helping to boost footfall on our high streets and in town centres too, but the existence of the scheme alone should signify the magnitude of the challenge facing all consumer businesses currently.
“The fortunes of retail remain up in the air, as has been evident in the mixed bag of positive and negative corporate updates in recent months and weeks. Indeed, the ONS retail sales figures themselves are positive overall, but certain categories – especially fashion – continue to suffer. Added to that, July may have seen online activity fall slightly but there is no question that there has been a locked-in step up in online sales adoption by customers. Great execution in this channel will continue to be key for success going forwards and continued investment and/or partnership in this area will be a key consideration for retailers.
“Sorting winners from losers, it is clear that in order to keep sales momentum going, businesses must think carefully about how they are going to adapt and engage with the new customer emerging from this pandemic. It’s going to require considerable determination, agility, savviness. These are qualities that not all players possess in equal measure; so a willingness to partner may well be an avenue explored by those lacking.”
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