The team at Numensa hopes that 2014 is off to a great start for you and your business.

It looks like the world has turned an economic corner with initial indications of retail sales showing increases in the lead up to Christmas.  The Australian Bureau of Statistics reported a seasonally adjusted 0.7% increase in November with Clothing, Footwear and Accessory retailing increasing 1.2%.  Electronics retailers have faired best of all with sales of tablets beating all expectations.  However, not all retailers have faired so well and there was certainly some deep discounting in the Boxing Day sales.

Further afield, the beleaguered UK retail market is showing modest increases.  The British Retail Consortium has reported a sales increase of 1.8% in December.  Multi-channel is the continuing success story, driven in some part by the increasing popularity of click & collect.  Non-food online sales now account for 18.6% of all sales.  This should be food for thought for many Australian retailers who are still getting to grips with their online channel.

Highlights in the UK are John Lewis with a 7.2% increase in the 5 weeks up to the end of the year and a 22.6% increase in online sales.  Next plc. also faired well with 11.9% increase in sales in the 8-week run up to Christmas.  Next Directory sales rose 21.0%.

Both Debenhams and Marks & Spencer continue to disappoint with 0.7% and 1.8% increases respectively.  Debenhams has issued a profits warning and Marc Boland, CEO of Marks & Spencer has reported a 2.1% drop in like-for-like general merchandise sales for the 8-week Christmas trading period, sighting disappointing sales of their new Autumn clothing line.  On the upside for M&S, food saw record sales with the highest ever day’s sales of £64m (AS$120m) on 23rd December.  That’s more than can be said for the UK’s big 4 food retailers, of which both Tesco and Morrisons had a disappointing lead up to Christmas.

Both Wesfarmers and Woolworths are yet to release their Christmas trading figures, however, it would certainly seem that with the right retail strategy, there is a plethora of customers willing to spend money.
If you would like to know more about Numensa Retail Consulting or our executive education programs, please visit our website at or call Beverley on 03 9869 7162.

Lastly, we would like to announce the first of our public courses on offer this year, Foundations of Buying and Merchandise Planning.