News

In store grocery sales up in June, but technology needed to halt overall decline

Despite a gloomy long term view of consumer confidence, supermarkets recorded growth of 5% in sales in June – spurred by sporting events and good weather.

According to research from Nielsen, shoppers spent 5.1% more on groceries during the four weeks to 15 July than during the same period in 2016 – marking the highest year-on-year increase in at least four years.

This is backed up by Summit, which finds that the heatwave led to Camping searches were up 86% in June, Nerf Guns up 41% and fishing equipment searches grew by 193%. Argos sold a staggering 92,000 fans and enough paddling pools to hold 70 million litres of water in June. Beer sales also hit a five year high.

But the figures are likely to be just a blip as the impact of Brexit continues to hit prices and the political uncertainty – not to mention poor weather in July – are all likely to see this minor growth stall.

The issue once again puts pressure on retailers to look to online technology to augment the in-store experience to help halt the declining footfall.

According to Paul Lewis, Senior Director of Marketing at VoucherCodes.co.uk, “The high-street needs to take a smarter approach to counter tough consumer conditions and drive foot-fall onto the high-street. When shoppers are spending on food and drink, they are likely not spending on high-street items as they are enjoying the sunshine in the garden or at the park.

Lewis continues: “The digital and physical needs to work together to increase overall sales figures, shopping is no longer divided into clicks vs bricks and retailers need to be enticing consumers onto the high-street through seamless experiences. Last year VoucherCodes.co.uk, part of RetailMeNot, discovered that mobile devices unlocked £200 million sales in-store, therefore retailers should be utilising digital to ensure that the high street stays busy all summer.”

The news comes as retail group Arcadia has developed a dedicated assisted sales application that connects online with offline to bring all the benefits of the website to the physical store. Arcadia will be rolling this out across all seven brands in its cannon – Topshop, Topman, Miss Selfridge, Evans, Burton, Dorothy Perkins and Wallis.

Recently other retailers have seen the advantages of in-store online tech, with Pets At Home rolling out customer service iPads and then a dedicated in-store customer help app.

Research by  Vista Retail Support has also found that more advanced technologies such as augmented reality also have a role to play, with 96% of consumers who have experienced AR in a retail store saying they found it helpful and report that it has improved their shopping experience.