David McCorquodale, UK Head of Retail at KPMG, comments on the latest Retail Sales figures from the Office for National Statistics:
“In line with the BRC/KPMG statistics already released, these figures reflect a fairly flat end to 2012. Consumers held off spending until the last possible moment, hoping for bargains, which pushed Christmas spending into the last two weeks of the month and put retailers under intense pressure to cut their prices to boost sales.
“Whilst a greater proportion of sales were generated online, the total sales figures show little growth. The increasing shift from high street to online can only continue, with the rise in popularity of tablets and new initiatives like click and collect helping to drive sales in the online space for retailers. However, these sales come with additional costs, such as distribution, which will erode retailers’ overall profitability.
“Whilst some retailers have reported a strong end to the year, with the total picture being flat, some of the bad news is clearly yet to emerge. As was the case last year, 2013 has begun with some big names being forced into administration reflecting in particular the shifting sands caused by the advancement of technology.”
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