Nearly half (44%) of UK retailers say the outcome of the Brexit vote has led them to reconsider planned investments in new technologies and channels to market, something which Worldpay believes could limit retailers’ ability to grow if left unchecked. According to data from the CBI, retail sales volumes grew at their best levels for six months in August.
This follows above-forecast July retail sales number from the Office for National Statistics2. Yet despite buoyant economic data from across the retail sector, just under half (46%) of UK retailers surveyed still believe there will be a drop in consumer spending over the coming year, versus 26% who believe trading conditions will remain unchanged with 27% remaining undecided.
Retailers in London were more than twice as likely to believe conditions will become more challenging in the coming twelve months than those across the rest of the UK. This stark contrast in attitude suggests voter preference could be influencing business behaviour as much as available data.
Worldpay warns uncertainty over how Brexit will impact trading conditions is causing many retailers to delay vital investment needed to modernise the sector and meet rapidly evolving consumer shopping habits.
According to Worldpay’s research, businesses selling through online channels were far more confident about post-Brexit trading conditions than those with only a bricks and mortar presence, suggesting that recent interest from overseas shoppers taking advantage of currency fluctuations and boosted online spending from non-UK cards, which increased by 5.3%3 in the month following Brexit, have served to reassure web based retailers.
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