Steve in a CITY A.M. DEBATE

Steve in a CITY A.M. DEBATE

5 December 2019

Are there any signs that UK retailers could be in for a merry Christmas this year?

NO, says Steve Hastings, founder and executive planning director at independent advertising agency isobel.

No doubt retailers are keener on Christmas than turkeys, but can piped music on a loop and rictus grins paper over the cracks caused by the creeping malaise triggered by Brexit, an election, chilly weather, and worsening economic news? Probably not.

November spend is barely up on last year, with department stores down by 5.9 per cent, electronics down by five per cent, and clothing by 3.3 per cent, according to Barclaycard. And with Brexit planning gone awry, many retailers now have too much stock on their hands, forcing some traumatic sales behaviour and cutting margins.

Black Friday has already become stretched to a “Black Friday Event”, sometimes lasting for more than a week. And the consumer magazine Which found that only one in 20 Black Friday deals were genuine. None of this is likely to help consumer confidence.

Perhaps it’s time to see the other side of that overplayed song — yes, Santa Claus is coming to town, but retailers had better watch out.

See the full article published on City A.M.