ONS Confirms Fall In UK Retail Sales In November

Insolvency Specialist Comments On Latest Trends

15.12.2011

Retail sales in November fell by 0.4 per cent across November when compared to the month before, according to the latest figures from the Office for National Statistics.

The study revealed that while sales of clothes had risen across the month, consumers had cut back on other items including computers, mobile phones and jewellery.

Analysts have suggested the fall has come as October saw sales rises due to the beginning of discounting in some stores, while the figure still marked an increase in spending from the same period last year.

Commenting on the retail sales estimates for November, Andrew Walker, Yorkshire regional chair of insolvency trade body R3 and a partner at Irwin Mitchell, said: “The year on year increase in consumer spending seems reassuring, but we have to factor in that prices have increased by 3.6% over the same period. The situation is volatile with both value and volumes of retail sales actually decreasing slightly month on month.

“Recent research by R3 shows that 60% of consumers are worried about their current level of debt while retailers will have their eye on December’s approaching rent Quarter Day. Retailers will need to see a stronger showing for December’s crucial trading period. 

“Earlier in the year, R3’s Business Distress Index showed that retail businesses are more likely than any other to be concerned about their debt levels (41%). The research also found that 58% of retailers were experiencing a decrease in profit which was 24% higher than the cross sector average.

“Bad weather and a post-Christmas shopping slump is sure to have a negative impact on many businesses, particularly smaller ones so it is important not to be complacent. The sooner any troubled business seeks professional advice, the more that can be done.”