7 November 2017 Non-food High Street sales in the UK rose by just 0.2% in the year to October, this is the weakest growth since January 2011. According to the British Retail Consortium, families are spending their money on day trips, instead of going to the shops. The key period for retailers is at Christmas, now only seven weeks away, and the BRC suggests that their members have real cause for concern. Helen Dickinson, the BRC’s chief executive, said that the recent rise in inflation, was making shoppers "ever more cautious in considering what purchases they can afford". However, it is also possible that strong competition from online retailers is creating problems for High Street brands. Both Next and New Look have reported worse figures for recent trading. In the six months to 23 September, New Look reported a loss of £10.4m, contrasting with a profit of £59.3m for the same six months last year. UK sales have fallen 8.4% for the fashion retailer (based on like-for-like figures). "The results reflect another tough period of trading for the company amid a challenging retail environment on the UK High Street," according to New Look executive chairman Alistair McGeorge, he added that we are "not anticipating a reversal in fortunes overnight." The fashion retailer Next reported that the year to 29 October had seen a fall of 7.7%, they reported that "sales performance has remained extremely volatile and is highly dependent on the seasonality of the weather". Paul Martin, head of retail at the accountancy firm KPMG, said: "After a brief uptick, fashion sales reverted back to the dreary theme we have seen for a number of months this year. Unseasonably warm weather last month will not have helped, but this is unlikely to be the only reason the new ranges are proving unpopular." Many retailers are pinning their hopes on a good performance on ‘Black Friday’ (24th November this year), but of course many consumers will be comparing High Street and online deals.
Questions What may be causing the problems for High Street shopping? Is something similar happening in your country? What is the future for retailing?
Vocabulary Highlight text for definitions non-food retail sales – sales of clothes, electronics, perfumes, etc. (but not food) High Street sales – sales in shops in city centres day trip – a visit to somewhere for the day cause for concern – a reason to be worried cautious – careful to afford – to be able to pay for competition – pressure from other businesses trading – doing business like-for-like figures – similar scenarios, adjusted numbers for comparison to anticipate – to think something will happen challenging – difficult, but not impossible volatile – changing a lot and changing quickly to pin your hopes on – to rely on something helping you
Identify the tenses used in this paragraph and explain why they have been chosen:
According to the BRC, families are spending their money on day trips, instead of going to the shops. The key period for retailers is at Christmas, now only seven weeks away, and the BRC suggests that their members have real cause for concern.