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EDITORIAL How retailers are investing for the future at a time of slowing sales; peak trading update

Image: Vlad Kochelaevskiy/Shutterstock

In today’s InternetRetailing newsletter we’re reporting on how the peak trading season is developing. Today we’re taking a look at how they are affected by Black Friday sales and Royal Mail strikes.

Retail sales figures for November – a month marked by earlier than usual Black Friday promotions – grew by an inflation-lagging 4% according to BRC figures, while Barclaycard figures show card purchases were 3.9% up on last year. But while shoppers are spending more on essential purchases – such as food and energy – they are spending less in areas including clothes and department stores, raising concerns that more retailers may not survive the winter. 

So how do retailers most effectively trade through a downturn? That’s a question that veteran retailer David Kohn tackles in his latest guest column for InternetRetailing, which offers some interesting advice.

Victorian Plumbing has reported flat full-year sales and a 40% decline in pre-tax profits after investing for the future in areas from marketing to warehousing. The retailer says that the shift online has slowed in post-pandemic, with around 31% of bathroom sales now taking place online. However, it  still sees plenty of room for growth in its addressable market. 

We also report on a new technology partnership between B&Q and Screwfix owner Kingfisher and Google Cloud. It envisages a wider range for B&Q, via its new online marketplace, and faster performance for Screwfix, built on cloud-based infrastructure. 

Finally, in today’s guest comment, Al Gerrie of ZigZag Global sets out 10 ways to reduce the impact of ecommerce returns.

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