Footfall on high streets severely affected by online shopping

A rise in online shopping is partly responsible for the drop in the number of individuals going to the UK’s high streets and out of town shopping centres, in accordance with a brand new survey. The UK Retail Consortium (BRC), in association with Springboard, produced a report that reveals high streets adept a 3.7 per cent drop in footfall in December 2013 and 3.8 per cent on a three-month basis, which is the worst reduction since August 2012. Out of town shopping centres also saw fewer shoppers visiting. Footfall fell one.2 per cent last month and 1.8 per cent respectively on a three-month basis. Helen Dickinson, director general of the BRC, mentioned: “These figures highlight how the rapid evolution of multichannel is changing the face of shopping, specially at Christmas. “Rather than making numerous trips to the shops over the festive period, countless of us planned ahead for our gift-buying and took benefit of retailers’ purchase in services like click and gather so that they could cover off their festive spending at their convenience.” Ms Dickinson believes that the timing of Christmas played a key role in the peaks & troughs in shopper numbers throughout the last month of 2013. As the big day fell on a Wednesday, plenty of individuals held off completing their shopping until the last few days. She was keen to highlight that last week’s sales statistics demonstrated that the final results for 2013 were “respectable overall”.  “These figures similarly highlight that continuing caution & altering investing habits were central themes of Christmas trading in 2013,” added Ms Dickinson. Diane Wehrle, retail insights director at Springboard, mentioned that November’s warnings of a challenging and tough trading period came to fruition. According to Ms Wehrle, the blend of the emphasis retailers placed on online sales & early discounts meant that clients delayed their visits to shopping destinations until as late as possible, which negatively affected footfall in the beginning of December 2013. Furthermore, the severe weather quashed any hopes retailers had of a last burst of peak trading activity before Christmas. Ms Wehrle believes that thanks to this, footfall did not have a chance to recover before the festive period.

Christmas 2013 saw record online shopping statistics

Almost one in 5 non-food items were bought on the world wide web last month, according to a survey undertaken by the British Retail Consortium (BRC). There was also a 19.2 per cent improve in online purchases from 2012, which is the fastest hike in 4 years. However, British Isles retail sales in total only rose by 0.4 per cent on a like-for-like basis. The BRC believes that the figures represent a “respectable overall result”. Online trading in general represented 18.6 per cent of total non-food sales in December 2013, an increase from 16.five per cent in the last month of 2012. Helen Dickinson, director general of the BRC, mentioned the truth that retailers had invested in their web pages and improved delivery occasions had helped enhance online trading. Ms Dickinson highlighted mutlichannel offerings by quite a few retailers as a key trading factor over Christmas. She said: “This Christmas we’ve seen innovative retailers working with click & gather & other approaches to make a virtue of each their website and their physical shops. And that’s something we see growing in value.” According to Ms Dickinson, overall sales figures were in line with the BRC’s prediction that Christmas trading in 2013 “would reflect that while confidence levels were higher than the previous year, this wasn’t continually matched by more profits in pockets”. KPMG’s head of retail, David McCorquodale, conducted the survey for the BRC. He noted that net sales had knowledgeable a large enhance in the run up to Christmas. He added:”Retail sales growth is being driven by the click of a mouse, instead of the ring of the tills.” The BRC’s survey also revealed there had been a 0.6 per cent decline in food sales over the past quarter. Trading reports from some of the UK’s greatest supermarkets on Thursday (January 9th) showed that sales suffered as competition in the sector elevated. Like-for-like sales for Morrisons fell 5.6 per cent in the 6 weeks to January 5th. Tesco also revealed a two.4 per cent reduction throughout the Christmas period. The online boom was clearly clear in late 2013, with many high street chains expanding their internet offerings & a few retailers reporting record figures for online purchases.

Final major energy supplier annouces price slash

Yesterday (January 8th) npower became the last of the huge six power suppliers to announce what action it intends to take as a way to cut costs, following the government’s evaluation of levies on energy bills. Npower has revealed that it will be cutting costs by £38 on February 28th after which clients will get a further rebate later this year. The recent alterations to fees have left quite a few buyers in a state of confusion, as quite a few suppliers hiked the cost of their services just last year, only to partially reverse the increases this year. To add to the confusion, not all the Vast 6 are passing the reductions quickly on to clients. British Gas have already pushed by way of the reversal, and its customers saw the reduction as January first. SSE clients will are obliged to wait three months before they see a reduction, which indicates they will miss the benefit on their winter bills. Suppliers have also taken distinct stances over which clients will actually benefit from the reductions, with some cutting bills for all & a number of excluding buyers on a fixed tariff. Furthermore, only a number of suppliers have agreed to resolve the fee reductions till 2015, adding a caveat in case wholesale prices, or other expenditures, increase substantially & for sustained periods of time. The cuts have actually done nominal to combat the effect of earlier sharp price increases. Reductions standard out at around £40 or three per cent per year. This will make the common household energy bill £1,264 annually, which still indicates clients will be paying £53, or four.3 per cent more compared to January 2013. Even more importantly, given the backdrop of soaring charges in the last decade, the cuts seem insignificant. In 2004 the common household energy bill was £472 a year, whereas in March this year the average fee will be £1,264 – even after the reductions come into effect. This works out at a 168 per cent improve, which in accordance with uSwitch.com has made power unaffordable for loads of households. The comparison site believes that loads of households have already been forced to make drastic cutbacks, with over 8 in ten expected to ration their energy this winter.

Financial stresses predicted to rise this year

January is finally here and plenty of people may be beginning worry about their existing debts and additional costs accumulated over the festive period & in the course of 2013. Consolidating and clearing those debts in a sensible manner need to be part of our New Year’s resolutions, based on one of the UK’s most well-liked comparison sites. In a recent poll, MoneySuperMarket.com asked its prospects what they feel stressed about on a every day basis. The results revealed that money worries are on the rise, being the principal cause for concern for 36 per cent of UK grown-ups. The survey also found that 8 per cent of prospects had to turn to credit cards and loans to fund their Christmas spending – these people would now be facing the challenge of paying these debts off. MoneySuperMarket.com suggests that those that can’t afford to repay their credit card debt this month need to look to transfer their balance to a card that offers zero per cent for balance transfers. Kevin Mountford, head of Banking at MoneySuperMarket, stated: “Taking just a number of minutes to assessment your funds is the very first step in tackling debt. “It is key to work out how much you could realistically afford to repay every month in order to find an appropriate product- this will help to make certain credit card debts are cleared in the most efficient way achievable.” Polls from separate firms recommend that men and women are also becoming increasingly worried about the cost of living and the security of their jobs this year. A survey from GoCompare found that 6 per cent of British Isles grown-ups are worried concerning the rising expense of living & five per cent admit that their biggest worry for 2014 is losing their job. It also revealed the measures individuals are preparing to take to lower their outgoings. Almost half of the respondents plan to decrease the quantity they spend on food shopping to save income. In addition, 26 per cent of the participants identified energy bills where they can make savings along with a quarter think they may reduce the expense of their Tv, mobile, web and home phone bills.

Sainsbury’s quarterly sales rise for the 36th consecutive quarter

Sainsbury’s experienced a 36th consecutive quarter of economic growth with like-for-like sales excluding new shops going up by 0.2 per cent in the 14 weeks to January 4th. Sainsbury’s mentioned that the third quarter trading figures showed a “strong sales efficiency in a tough market.” The grocer said sales in the 7 days before Christmas were the busiest it had ever experienced.  The news was better than expected with quite a few retail analysts predicting a minor drop in like-for-like sales over the period. Towards the end of 2013 Sainsbury’s overtook Asda to develop into the UK’s second greatest grocer behind Tesco. Sainsbury’s Chief Executive Justin King stated that sales picked up in the weeks just before Christmas after a slow October and November. He stated: “This quarter has been characterised by quite a difficult sales environment throughout October & November, with customers saving up to be able to treat their families over the Christmas period.” Sainsbury’s stated sales growth in its own Taste the Distinction range had been more than ten per cent. Its convenience stores recorded growth of practically 18 per cent & online sales went up by more than ten per cent. Yesterday, discount grocers Aldi and Lidl posted huge sales increases when they presented their third quarter results both increasing industry share by practically 1 per cent as Aldi posted a sales rise of 39.5 per cent in the 3 months to January 5th and Lidl posted elevated sales of 17.4 per cent. These 2 firms were the clear winners of the grocery battle for the Christmas pound. Waitrose and the Co-op also reported sales increases over the Christmas period. In the 5 weeks to Christmas Waitrose sales went up by 3.one per cent compared to the same period last year & online sales were up by more than a 3rd compared with 2012. Waitrose managing director, Mark Charge, stated: “Every year retailers say that Christmas is late, though with many justification in 2013, as clients phased their shopping in line with the mid-week fall of the main festivities.” Meanwhile, in the 13 weeks to 4 January, the Co-op’s like-for-like sales grew by 1 per cent compared with the same period a year earlier. However, total food sales were the same over the last 3 months as the Co-op got rid of a few larger stores. Sainsbury’s Justin King sounded a note of caution as retailers look to the early period of 2014. He mentioned: “As with last year, we anticipate customers to spend cautiously in the few months following Christmas, in an attempt to rebalance the household finances. The general economic backdrop remains uncertain for plenty of households.”

Energy firms show reluctance to pass on green levy bill

Scottish Energy have develop into the second of the “major six” power firms to cut fees following the government’s announcement that it will cut a few environmental expenses & move the costs of green levies from power firms to general taxation. It follows Britain Gas announcement that costs are being cut from the 1st January. Npower and SSE has yet to announce if they will decrease fees. EDF Energy and E.On took the green levy reductions into account when they announced their charge increases last month & confined their cost hikes to 3.9 per cent & 3.seven per cent respectively. All six firms raised gas & electricity costs by between four & 10 per cent over the autumn.  Scottish Power raised charges by an common of 8.6 per cent for dual fuel clients. They’ve now cut fees by 3.three per cent. Still, the firm was unable to commit to not raising charges once more later this year. This suggests the average common annual dual fuel bill for Scottish Power’s two.2 million households has gone up from £1,230 to £1,284 instead of £1,325. For those paying by direct debit the typical bill will fall to £1,199. The reduction will take impact from January 31st 2014. Customers will also get a £12 rebate for the Warm Home Discount, which the Government has said will be funded through general taxation instead of by way of levies on power bills. However, 97 per cent of customers on fixed-cost power deals won’t see their bills fall as the firm mentioned they were already protected from green levies. Neil Clitheroe, ScottishPower’s CEO of Energy Retail and Generation, said: “Following the Government’s recent announcement on lowering the impact of green & social levies on consumer energy bills, we will be passing these cost reductions on to consumers this month. We are pleased that the Government has taken sensible measures to curb these rising costs. “We realize that we want to continue to work challenging to decrease bills for our consumers by means of providing competitive fixed priced merchandise & comprehensive energy efficiency guidance.  As part of this ongoing commitment, we will attempt to avoid any further cost rises in 2014 however this will depend on whether there are increases in wholesale energy fees or other costs outside of our control.” However, there has in most circumstances been at least a two-month gap covering the highest energy usage in the winter where the earlier price hikes stood before the discount has been passed on. Tom Lyon, energy expert at uSwitch.com, mentioned: “We strongly implore suppliers to not only offer relief soon, but also to backdate any reductions so that consumers can feel the benefit throughout the coldest months of the year. “While suppliers are delaying, consumers should not. There is at present over £300 difference between the cheapest and the most expensive tariff on the sector meaning that consumers can give themselves an even more substantial fee cut by switching to a less costly deal.”