Insolvency Expert Warns Of Complacency Following ‘Encouraging’ Retail Figures

ONS Stats Reveal Sales Increase


Businesses have been warned by an insolvency expert at Irwin Mitchell to not get complacent after new statistics revealed that UK retail sales rose by 0.6 per cent in October from the previous month.

According to the figures from the Office for National Statistics, sales in smaller stores also rose by 5.3 per cent year-on-year, which marked the biggest increase seen since the end of 2004.

Overall prices were found to be down 0.4 per cent, with the decrease linked to promotions put in place in the run-up to Christmas.

Andrew Walker, Yorkshire regional chair of insolvency trade body R3 and a partner at Irwin Mitchell, said many companies are now entering an important point of the year.

He explained: The pick-up in retail sales is unsurprising given that we are now in the run-up to Christmas.  “The next few months are a crucial period for retailers to build up their reserves before the New Year when consumers will curtail their spending once again.

“This year many retail businesses entered administration following June’s quarter day as consumers spent the first half of 2011 paying off their Christmas debts.

“Shoppers are likely to have started on their Christmas list early this year to make allowances for the higher costs of living, in particular the hike in energy prices which will squeeze households even further in the coming months. It is a good idea for consumers to even out their Christmas spending over several pay packets to avoid any unexpected outgoings tipping them into insolvency or resorting to short term lending solutions.

“R3’s latest Personal Debt snapshot revealed over four in ten (44%) people struggle to payday, whilst one in ten (11%) take out a ‘payday loans’ to make ends meet at the end of each month. Individuals turning to short-term loans and credit cards to fund Christmas should be wary of the high interest rates that often accompany these products. Debt can quickly snowball out of control.

“These figures offer encouraging signs but we should be wary of complacency. Things are far from being back to normal on the high street. The difficult international situation, the government's austerity measures, high inflation and stagnant wages will continue to put pressure on businesses and consumers. The festive season could be one of the toughest yet for retailers.”