Last week’s Brexit deal and the pulling of Saturday’s Parliamentary vote have left the UK retail sector back where it has been for the last three+ years, facing an uncertain future as consumers shun unnecessary spending.
Two regular reports on Tuesday highlighted the weakness of UK consumer spending at present but also how tough it is to judge overall consumer sentiment given tricky comparisons with a year ago and the impact of Easter.
Business groups have signalled that they’re losing patience with politicians as MPs reject the negotiated Brexit deal and rule out a no-deal exit altogether, but the UK government insists no-deal is still an option.
The UK’s consumer spending was muted at best during February as shoppers focused on preserving their cash but also on buying essentials ahead of what might turn out to be a difficult EU exit later this month.
New Look was upbeat on Wednesday as it focused on the positives in its end-of-Q3 report rather than its continuing sales fall. But it seemed justified in that view as the business is clearly improving.
International tourist spending was one of the few bright spots in UK retail last month and despite one of the worst festive seasons on record, tourists’ average transaction value rose in double-digits in December.
New Look's creditors will become its majority owners after the firm announced a deal to cuts its debt load by £1bn. And it also said that trading has been up and down in recent periods, but it thinks it's back on track.
The fashion sector struggled last month and even cold weather and Black Friday failed to propel sales upwards with womenswear, menswear, footwear and department stores all sluggish or weak, Barclaycard said Tuesday.