• Anne Heaney, Director

A Crucial Christmas in Store for Three Besieged UK Retailers

Despite Black Friday promotions having been spread over two weeks in November, Debenhams, New Look and House of Fraser are among the few still discounting by as much as 50 percent.

The weekend of December 9 to December 10, widespread snowfall across the UK caused a 9.1 percent drop in the number of shoppers at British retail destinations, according to researcher Springboard, leaving retailers hoping for a glut of pent-up demand to materialise before Christmas.

That’s adding to the strain wrought by soaring labor and sourcing costs exacerbated by the Brexit-induced weakness of the pound, as well as a squeeze on Britons’ disposable incomes. Last month, Next Plc chief executive Simon Wolfson said consumer behaviour was subdued and he didn’t expect that trend to change over the peak shopping season.

Then there’s the rise of e-commerce, which is sucking demand away from physical stores and leaving them struggling to adapt.

Historically Christmas trading has kept the wolf from the door for a lot of struggling retailers, but with the increasingly competitive environment, the golden quarter may not be so so golden.

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