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EDITORIAL Forecasting shopper behaviour – over Black Friday and beyond

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In today’s newsletter, we have the latest on the run up to Black Friday – including predictions on how it will fare in competition with  the World Cup. 

We’re reporting as Joules plans to appoint administrators, having been unable to secure financing ahead of a debt deadline, and as Primark sells online for the first time – or at least, to those who have managed to get online to order from its click and collect trial in 25 shops. Interest in the new limited store trial seems to have piqued high levels of interest, rendering its website unavailable to many – incluing those who want to check stock levels for other stores – and even though the service is also only available to shoppers in a limited area. 

Gear4music, meanwhile, reports a small rise in sales and a pre-tax loss in the first half of its year, although the musical instrument and equipment retailer still expects to turn a profit in the second half. The retailer says its seen its UK sales fall back from Covid-19 peaks, although its European business has benefited from the opening of two new distribution centres. 

All are feeling the effects of changing shopper behaviour – which Land Securities also says it’s seeing as customers revert to pre-pandemic trends. It suggests that “the material acceleration in online sales during the pandemic turned out to be only temporary” – although it expects that shoppers will still want to buy online and in-store in the future. 

We’d point out, though, that more UK retail sales still take place online – put at about 26% by the ONS, up from just under 20% before the pandemic – which is a not insignificant shift, although not as dramatic as those seen when shoppers were unable or unwilling to go in-store. That said, multichannel remains popular with shoppers who still want to have the choice – where retailers can afford to offer it. 

Today’s guest comment is from Rob van den Heuvel of Sendcloud, on the transition from online retailer to marketplace. 

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