2019 was the worst year on record for retail sales, it has been revealed.
The British Retail Consortium (BRC) says total sales fell 0.1% which is the worst result for 25 years.
It says that sales in November and December were particularly weak.
“Twice the UK faced the prospect of a no-deal Brexit, as well as political instability that concluded in a December general election – further weakening demand for the festive period,” says BRC chief executive Helen Dickinson.
Paul Kirkland, Director of Retail & Hospitality at Fujitsu UK, “It shouldn’t come as a surprise to retailers that total sales fell in 2019; from declining footfall as online competitors grow their market share, to the continued impact of the UK’s political and economic uncertainty, it was a particularly difficult consumer environment to navigate.
“But in the face of changing consumer habits and expectations, retailers have struggled to innovate and keep pace with the rapid transformation we’re seeing across the sector. We’ve seen this lead to the closure and administration of many high-street brands as a result. It’s time for the entire industry to dramatically rethink how we can revive the high-street and drive future revenue and growth.
“In fact, our recent research found that 40 per cent of UK customers feel that the high-street has been too slow in adopting technologies, showing just how much room for growth there is for retailers to take advantage of new digital solutions. For example, by leveraging predictive analytics to build a responsive and speedy delivery network to using augmented and virtual reality to immerse people in an engaging experience.
“Thanks to the increasing levels of competition, and the ever-growing ways consumers can shop across devices, channels and touch points, it’s now much harder to drive awareness and attract people to shop in-store. While 2020 looks set to present continued challenges for retailers in the UK, they have the opportunity to focus on using technology to match the immediacy, personalisation and ease of online shopping to reinvigorate the in-store experience and inspire people to return to the high street.”