Retailers will be “trying hard to make up for lost ground” this Christmas, UK head of retail at KPMG Paul Martin says.
”There is no denying that retailers have had a troublesome few months recently, making the final push towards Christmas all the more vital in determining overall success or failure. Indeed, some retailers make the vast majority of their annual profits during these few weeks alone.
”Thankfully, the bout of political uncertainty is now seemingly behind us post-election, even though Brexit is yet to be executed. This may well result in a resurgence of consumer confidence for the time being, which in turn will encourage shoppers to finally make the purchases that they may have been putting off in recent months. In any case, Christmas is usually a time when festivities trump traditional reason, and retailers will be trying to make up for lost ground.”
He added: “In the final days before Christmas, shoppers will be focused on buying last-minute gifts and ensuring their cupboards are adequately stocked for the festivities. Alongside the classic gifting categories such as health and beauty or fashion, this period will be prime time for the grocery sector to win favour with customers.
“The competition among the food and drink players is so fierce currently, but customer choice is likely to boil down to quality, price, convenience as well as longstanding loyalties. Christmas trading reports in January will reveal who had the winning combination of these drivers.
”Our high streets will also see some more action too in the coming days, as even online delivery can prove risky against the ticking clock – physical retail still has the advantage of immediate fulfilment. What’s more, with Christmas falling on a Wednesday, shoppers have both a whole weekend and two weekdays to fire through their shopping lists.
”The key question among the retailers though is: can sales rebound enough to make 2019 profitable in its entirety?”