Light at the end of the tunnel?

by Terence Ritchie

22 February 2023

According to latest figures, almost 15,000 jobs have been lost in the retail sector since the start of the year.

Quite clearly, retailers are having to react to a wide range of issues as they seek to rationalise their employee cost base. The sector was already under huge pressure off the back of Brexit and Covid but this has ramped up even further with soaring labour costs, energy costs and the current cost of living crisis.

Where does retail go from here? Well, contrary to predictions, sales volumes increased in January which has led some commentators to suggest that a wider recovery may now not be too far away.
Retail sales and our appetite for high street spending are often seen as a lead indicator for economic activity ahead but will these figures be seen as a continued trend? Undoubtedly, figures in January represent a better start to the year than many had predicted given that most would expect retail spending to be curbed following the Christmas period. However, it is too soon to say that the retail sector is now in recovery mode. It will be very interesting to see how the sector performs over the coming weeks and months as we all look for signs that economic prosperity lies ahead. As ever, what we can say with certainty is that the road ahead is unlikely to be a smooth one.

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