Retail news round-up: Footfall and sales; Boost for NEC; John Lewis ‘pilot stores’

June’s good weather resulted in a marginal year-on-year improvement in footfall across the nation’s high streets, delivering the second month of consecutive growth since November 2017. However, retail parks and shopping centres have had ‘an altogether more difficult time’. The overall trend of fewer visits to bricks and mortar stores remains, said British Retail Consortium chief executive Helen Dickinson, revealing the latest BRC/Springboard data..

Financial markets believe that the Bank of England may not now raise interest rates at its next meeting on August 2. This follows Office for National Statistics figures which show that last month retail sales volumes were down 0.5% from May. The ONS said ‘consumers stayed away from stores and instead enjoyed the World Cup and the heatwave’. In the second quarter consumer confidence rose to its highest level since 2011, according to a Deloitte report,

Birmingham’s National Exhibition Centre, the home of Spring Fair and Autumn Fair, enjoyed a 2.8% boost in sales for the past year, the NEC Group reported, ahead of a possible sale of the business by its private equity backer LDC. NEC Group also revealed pre-tax earnings up 9.8% to £54.7m.

As it fights falling sales and dwindling profits, John Lewis will turn 15 of its outlets into ‘pilot stores’ in September and experiment with events, classes, personal stylists and front-of-house concierge services, according to the Daily Mail
European retailers lost £15.7bn/€17.9bn in potential sales to their competitors over the last 12 months because of customers making a purchase elsewhere during long queues, research by payments platform Adyen reveals. And the retail industry as a whole lost out on £14.3bn/€16.3bn in potential sales during the same time frame because customers abandoned a purchase due to long queues and never made it elsewhere.

Outages on its website at the start of Amazon Prime Day (July 16) has cost the retailer over £75m in potential sales, according to sales aggregator site

‘A big campaign win for FSB,’ was how the business organisation described the announcement that LINK had decided to cancel one of its planned ATM interchange fee cuts while postponing another. The news comes after months of pressure from the FSB and consumer group Which? to bring pressure to bear on LINK to row back its plans to cut its interchange fee which was putting 10,000 free-to-use cash machines at risk.

Customers with autism are now able to take advantage of a ‘quieter hour’ which has been introduced by Morrisons in all of its 493 stores every Saturday between 9am and 10am. The scheme was developed with the support of the National Autistic Society and will benefit shoppers who find music and other supermarket noises stressful.

Alan Monahan