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  • 19 Jan

Retail Christmas Round-Up

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Following on from our Head of Marketing, Alex Broxson’s, feature on BBC Radio Nottingham, we wanted to provide a round-up of shopping habits around the Christmas period. If you would like to hear the full feature with our Head of Marketing, Alex Broxson, who was on BBC Radio Nottingham on Friday 9th January you can catch up here. Her feature begins 52mins and 25secs in to the Mark Dennison show.

So after all the presents were opened and crackers had been pulled did people end up hunting out the bargains and shopping on Boxing Day – or did Black Friday dominate the Christmas shopping season?

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Black Friday is the day that immediately follows the American holiday, Thanks Giving, which falls every 4th Thursday in November. It is also the unofficial kick off of the retail Christmas shopping season. Read more about Black Friday here.

Trading during the season was good for most retailers, with retail performance up across the board. Sales growth has also been up with the largest recorded overall trading spend in the past 27 years, with retail sales exceeding £100bn states IMRG Capgemini e-Retail Index reveals. This kicked off with Black Friday which saw an amazing £810m retail spend in just one day.

Was it the amazing bargains that drove us to spend on Black Friday?

Although there were some great bargains to be had, people’s mentality towards sale shopping seems to have changed. Shoppers are now looking to get pre-Christmas gift deals through Black Friday promotions. Post-Christmas may be the time to then purchase items at lower prices for themselves, and an opportunity for retailers to clear out their Christmas stock for the arrival of their Spring/Summer deliveries.

Black Friday sales certainly dominated over Boxing Day this year, with a spike in sales concentrated at the end of November. This saw December sales increase by only 5% year-on-year, which was the lowest recorded growth in the Index for this period. However all was not lost on Boxing Day as the average family still spent £650 in the 12 days after Christmas until January 5th, according to analysis by First Direct.

As a whole the increase in retail spend has been bigger and better than ever before throughout the Christmas period. It was surprising to note two especially strong performers from two very different ends of the retail spectrum, including; luxury brand, Fortnum and Mason and discount store, Pound Stretcher – both recording their most successful Christmas’ to date. The most successful retailer over the Christmas period was Ao.com with a 38.0% increase in total sales.

John Lewis commented that Black Friday whilst having its obvious advantage also has a down side. With such a high trade volume on one day, ensuring that the correct logistic and supply chain solutions are in place and are working accurately is imperative. With an omnichannel approach retailers can not only take advantage of customers shopping in-store but also online, via whichever channel is most convenient for them; but again if this isn’t executed correctly can leave customers disgruntled and sales lost.

Online has been the strongest area of spend this year and shows no signs of slowing down, but retailers with an omnichannel offering who can provide click-and-collect provide their customer with an extra incentive to return to the store. On average when customers collect a click-and-collect order they will spend an additional £27. Customers are also three times more likely to visit towns and city centres when click-and collect is used to join up shopping channels.

Omnichannel retail also highlights a number of IT and software challenges. Systems need to ensure the product is where it’s supposed to be at the right time and place. This is something that we at Retail Assist can help you with, with Merret our supply chain solution – you can find out more here about who we currently support and the services we provide.

If you are interested in providing an omnichannel offering for your customers and would like to see how our services could help you then please visit our website: www.retail-assist.co.uk. You can get in touch via email: info@retail-assist.co.uk or by phone: 0115 853 3910. Keep up to date with all of our latest news and developments by following us on Twitter: RetailAssist and Instagram: RetailAssist.

If you would like to hear the full feature with our Head of Marketing, Alex Broxson, who was on BBC Radio Nottingham on Friday 9th January you can catch up here. Her feature begins 52mins and 25secs in to the Mark Dennison show.

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