Retail sector looks forward to a brighter festive season
After another relatively tough year for retail, the sector is showing some positive signs ahead of the busy Christmas season according to the latest research by insolvency trade body R3.
R3’s figures reveal that that of the 10,314 active retail businesses in Yorkshire, just 2,779 or 26.9% were identified as being at higher than normal risk of insolvency in November, a drop of 1.7% since the previous month. The level of retailers at above normal risk in the region is now close to the national average of 26.8%.
Of the 12 regions surveyed, Northern Ireland had the lowest level of retail companies at higher than normal risk of insolvency with 19.8%; while London had the highest proportion of businesses at risk with 28.1%.
Yorkshire is generally performing well across most sectors when compared with other parts of the UK. In fact, the region outperformed the national average in construction (26.5% in Yorkshire versus 27.9% nationally), professional services (31.2% versus 32.9%) and agriculture (16.6% versus 19.5%); the only sector in which it fared below the UK wide figure was in transport/haulage (41.8% in Yorkshire compared with 40.1% nationally).
Andrew Davenport from Sheffield-based Maxim, commented: “It is reassuring to see a slight upturn in the retail sector in our region as we enter such a traditionally busy period with the lead up to Christmas followed by the January sales. Despite all the worries about Brexit and the global economy, it seems that consumers are still feeling optimistic and are happy to spend and the recent opening of the flagship John Lewis store and Victoria Gate Centre will attract even more shoppers into Leeds!
“While forecasts for retail spending have been lowered following the June referendum, they still show positive growth, However, retailers should be prepared for the impact of rising inflation next year which, in part, will be driven by increases in the price of imported goods following the recent weakened value of sterling against the US Dollar and the Euro. Our Christmas trading performance will be an interesting barometer of the resilience of the UK’s retail market.”
R3 uses research compiled from Bureau van Dijk’s ‘Fame’ database of company information to track the number of businesses in key regional sectors that have a heightened risk of entering insolvency in the next year.