United Kingdom


  • Industry: Retail and Consumer Goods
  • Type: Press release
  • Date: 15/11/2013

This will be the most understocked Christmas in recent years, warns KPMG 

  • Retailers are carrying significantly less stock this Christmas


  • Consumers should expect fewer discounts at the more successful retailers, who won’t need to cut prices to shift stock



This will be the most under stocked Christmas in recent years according to the head of retail at KPMG, David McCorquodale.


He says retailers have slashed their stock holdings after concerns they will have to carry the can on costs if shoppers remain cautious about their spending this Christmas.  This trend may mean less extensive sale racks at the more successful shops and a shortage of sizes in the more popular fashion ranges.


David McCorquodale, head of retail at KPMG said: “Retailers don’t want to be left holding the baby this Christmas and so most have kept stock holdings down to a real minimum.  They are desperate to avoid the deep discounting of previous years when a combination of over ordering and depressed consumer spending left too much surplus stock on the shelves and they had to slash prices to shift it.


 “Merchandising departments, working closely in association with those responsible for targeted promotions, have been given a greater influence than buying departments to manage stock levels and margins.  This improved management of stock means the most successful retailers on the high street won’t need to discount as extensively or as deeply this year, so it’s likely shoppers will only find real bargains at the less successful players, whose ranges aren’t as good or who have over ordered.”


As well as concerns over depressed consumer spending, the dwindling availability of credit insurance has seen retailers finance the purchase of stock themselves, which has increased pressure to hold as little stock as possible.  It has also had an impact on the relationship between supplier and retailer as they work together to manage supply lines. 


McCorquodale said: “Retailers in the fashion world tell me they are carrying 3% to 4% less stock in comparison to this time last year.  This might sounds like a small percentage, but this reduction will save these retailers millions in wasted margin.”


McCorquodale concluded: “The end game has to be a shop that looks stocked on Christmas Eve, but supported by a storeroom that’s nearly empty.  This cut throat approach to costs means the cold reality is some shoppers, who hold off for a discount, may simply not get what they want this Christmas.”




Notes to editors:


For press enquiries please contact


Zoe Sheppard, PR Manager at KPMG: +44 (0)117 905 4337 



About KPMG


KPMG LLP, a UK limited liability partnership, is a subsidiary of KPMG Europe LLP and operates from 22 offices across the UK with over 12,000 partners and staff.  The UK firm recorded a turnover of £1.8 billion in the year ended September 2012. KPMG is a global network of professional firms providing Audit, Tax, and Advisory services. We operate in 156 countries and have 152,000 professionals working in member firms around the world. The independent member firms of the KPMG network are affiliated with KPMG International Cooperative ("KPMG International"), a Swiss entity.  KPMG International provides no client services.




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