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EDITORIAL How consumer confidence is affecting retailers

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In today’s InternetRetailing newsletter we’re reporting on the different ways that retailers are responding to a fall in consumer confidence. The latest ONS figures point to continuing falls in retail job numbers in the Christmas – or fourth – quarter of 2022. This, says BRC chief executive Helen Dickinson, reflects a lack of consumer confidence and falling retail sales that mean retailers were more cautious about taking on new staff during the peak trading season.

Virgin Wines reports today as a series of what it describes as one-off costly events hit both sales and profits in the first half of its financial year. Despite this, it says, its customers are proving loyal despite the “dramatic change in consumer confidence and the trading environment”. It’s responding by investing in acquiring new customers – while keeping the costs of doing so down.

Today we’re also reporting as John Lewis aims to reflect what local shoppers want in a new store redesign. As a result it has shifted its Horsham store from an ‘at home’ format to a one-stop shop for fashions beauty, technology and home design – and extended its click and collect hours. 

New research suggests that more than one in 10 UK retailers still don’t have secure customer authentication in place, more than a year after requirements for this came into force, while another study makes the case for seeing serial returners as an asset rather than a hindrance. 

And we report as UK online retailers were among those reassuring investors this week that they were not exposed to the failure of Silicon Valley Bank, whose UK arm was saved from insolvency thanks to its acquisition by HSBC.

In today’s guest comment, Yara El Saadani of Wavemaker UK suggests that AI and AR are now becoming market differentiators

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