JK Marshall Mercantile Reports Inflation Impacts UK Retail Sales

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JK Marshall Mercantile says UK retail sales, which were initially propped up thanks to the sunshine and a multitude of overdue weddings in April, are now on a steady decline as consumers tighten their purses in a highly inflationary environment and deteriorating consumer confidence.

A recent report by JK Marshall Mercantile showed how the pandemic created an environment whereby many retail outlets oscillated between being open and closed, which had a clear impact on sales as well as on consumer spending patterns. The report revealed that consumers either migrated to online purchasing or closed their wallets altogether, as consumer confidence dampened dramatically, with uncertainty weighing.

Based on reports by the most recent BRC-KPMG Retail Sales Monitor, year on year total retail sales dropped off 0.3%, in stark comparison to a rise of 51.1% in April 2021 last year, which was of course relative to April 2020, in which the world first experience lockdown as a result of rising Covid cases. Like on like sales for the period fell even further by 1.7%, this stands in contrast to an uptick of 39.6% for the same time span in 2021.

JK Marshall Mercantile analysts believe slipping retail performance can be attributed to diminished consumer confidence, as a result of the rising cost of living and a real necessity to hammer the breaks on non-essential spending. As such, high flying, big ticket goods have been the hardest hit, with furniture, electrical appliances, and other expensive homeware seeing the largest dip in sales volumes. This has been exacerbated by supply delays shipping out of China.

A senior strategist at JK Marshall Mercantile noted that, “although fashion sales saw more strength, particularly event-wear – as consumers found solace in occasions previously avoided due to Covid restrictions, we can expect a severe dip in the months to come, as economists predict a 10% rise in inflation for the UK alone.” This will result in increased cost of goods for retailers, who will not be in a position to absorb. “From this it’s likely, retail sales will dip as consumers will have less disposable income attributed to fashion purchases, what with rising food prices and rising prices on clothing goods,” says the senior strategist at JK Marshall Mercantile.