Highest annual growth in retail spending despite upcoming vote

Figures released last week show that retail sector sales are up by 4.7% on last year – the highest rise in nearly 12 months.

The British Retail Consortium’s survey shows that the sales are up by 1.7% on the previous month. This is despite the fact that people may lose confidence in the economy during the upcoming General Election.

Easter came early

Much of the reasoning for the upturn in sales is down to the fact that Easter has come earlier than it did in 2014, with sales expected to drop back down next month. But nonetheless, it is still a rise compared with previous figures.

The BRC’s director general, Helen Dickinson, said the sector was seeing “slow but steady growth”, but that April’s sales growth is likely to be weaker due to Easter timings effects.

Retail spending in the first three months of 2015 overall was 2.8% higher than last year, compared with a 1.5% rise in the last quarter of 2014. An unclear outcome from the election could still impact the retail outlook.

Value of the pound is falling

The pound is still concerning to the economy. The pound is now at its lowest value in five years. With the election just around the corner, it is hoped that the British public maintain confidence in parliament – regardless of the outcome.

The retail figures have been released with in-store prices measured by the BRC to be falling at their fastest rate since 2006. Other surveys have also reported rising consumer morale because of the record-low inflation and the fact that wages are starting to pick up after years of stagnation.

Let’s hope that whatever the outcome at the election, and whatever the make-up of the next Government is, that we keep the recovery going and continue to build on the growth that many business owners have seen in the last few years.

About the Author

Having worked in financial services for over 36 years, Andrew Darling is a specialist in invoice discounting, factoring and trade finance solutions. He currently manages the development of business with higher turnover companies at Bibby Financial Services, specialising in corporate finance for businesses with turnover of £5 million or more.

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