A retail slowdown is now forecast for 2018 after the expected downturn in 2017 didn’t happen, according to Mintel.
Last year saw rising inflation, falling real incomes and the first increase in interest rates in 10 years, which led to consumers becoming more cautious, said market intelligence agency Mintel.
Despite these influences, retail sales held up well, even in October and November, when the comparisons were especially challenging.
The researcher also observed that the online channel had increased its share of retailing, with roughly half of online sales going through the websites of store-based retailers.
Mintel claimed that the retail sector is well placed heading into 2018. However, it added that this year must surely bring the slowdown that was anticipated in 2017, with the squeeze on consumers’ purses only set to get worse and interest rates expected to rise again around mid-year.
Mintel also reported that its indicators showed that consumer confidence is weak, which, it said, would see the household goods sectors being the worst hit.
It also anticipates that the online channel will once again see the strongest growth.