Cookshop and housewares retailers that are members of Bira (The British Independent Retailers Association) experienced an average decline of -0.3% for the all-important fourth quarter of 2019.
However, there was a stark contrast between those increasing their sales in the festive trading quarter and those showing decline. The average percentage value of those with a higher performance was 10.1%. On the other hand, the average percentage value of those with a decline was -8.46%.
The overall average decline of – 0.3% was considerably better than the overall average for Bira members across all of its sectors, ie a fall of -2.82% for retailers, compared to the same period in 2018.
The association reflected on a ‘disappointing quarter overall’ for independent retailers, with members’ comments alluding to the negative impact on December’s general election on consumer confidence and trade.
More than 60% of retailers (across Bira’s sectors) in the quarterly survey are facing modest margin pressures, due to a weaker £Pound as a result of Brexit. However, anxiety for the year ahead has dropped slightly to 48.70%.
Andrew Goodacre, Bira’s ceo commented on the results across Bira membership: “The figures from the final QSM of 2019 reflect a difficult quarter for independent retail businesses at the busiest time of the year. Although 2019 started in a more positive manner, only 39.57% have reported a positive performance. Furthermore, to see an overall drop of 2.82% is worrying and reflective of the challenging times retailers are facing.”
* Bira welcomed last week’s decision by the Scottish Parliament to retain the Uniform Business Rates (UBR) rather than devolve rate-setting powers to the Scotland’s 32 local authorities, which “would have led to an overall increase in rates for retailers, and created a great deal of uncertainty,” said Andrew Goodacre.
Top: Bira member, Peppecorn in Llandeilo. In Bira’s most recent QSM, Welsh retailers performed best in general. [Photo does not infer participation in the survey).