Saturday 24 March 2012

Retail numbers

Retail numbers

* 35% - growth in the umber of supermarkets in the UK since 2001
*£6bn - Online spending in the UK in 2004
*£23bn - Online spending in the UK 2010
*£1.3 bn - Level of m-commerce in the UK 2011
*£19bn - predicted level of m-commerce in 2019
*15,000 - reduction in town centre stores between 2000-2009
* 6.5% fall in number of town centre shops by 2014

Already those department for innovation, business and skills numbers are getting worse.

The number of empty shops on the UK high street hit an all-time high last month amid a wave of retail failures in the post-Christmas period, according to a survey published today. Town centre vacancy rates rose to an average of 14.6% in February, from 14.5% in January, the Local Data Company (LDC) said, the highest figures since the index started four years ago. This equates to one in nearly seven shops being shut in the UK.

The m-commerce is an odd stat to use. It just means a purchase via a mobile platform, like a phone. I doubt m- and e-commerce are mutually exclusive. Online is online.

However internet sales had a very slow growth in the UK. It took about 15 years to really take off. Partly this was because the number of online users had to grow. And the business had to develop smart, easy to use websites to shop from. And people had to trust that they were going to actually get something sent to them. Even today internet sales only account for about 10-11% of total retail sales. And if you strip out the supermarket's food sales it would fall a few % points I'm sure.

m-commerce won't need to wait as long to ramp up volume. The E-infrastructure is already there. If anything £19bn looks a bit low.


Chris Gilmour said...

It would be interesting to know how m-commerce compares with catalogue shopping.

Amazon is like the Argos catalogue for the 21st century

Mark Wadsworth said...

If people like shopping centres, supermarkets and online shopping, what's the big problem? They'll always find uses for land in the middle of towns, it just required a bit of vision/co-operation from the owners of the sites and the town planners.

Demetrius said...

This is scary. There are still a lot of people out there who need shops. Almost all of our local ones have gone and the town centre is declining fast. There is now quite a range of things no longer obtainable "locally".

Bill Quango MP said...

CG: Yep. i just wonder why they catagorise it as separate from online. To flog more smart phones I expect.

MW: Correct. those figures are from the end o the Portas review.
She makes the same points that you have. Shopping Malls aren't suffering nearly so much. because they are indoors.Have 'other' activities, play areas and so on.

So many local councils have budgets for civics but no idea what to use it for. Its like watching a government build a theme park. Like the Dome. And we all know how successful that was.

Demetrius: That is a problem. Shops are declining. yet they will always be necessary. Who wants to order a single pint of milk online? Or a newspaper?

[having said that one of the most reliable online sellers in the BQ industries range is a 99p metal pencil sharpener. - sold individually. We send them all around the globe. It never ceases to amaze me that some in wongobongo, Australia can order a pencil sharpener from the UK and its cheaper or more convenient than getting one locally.

Imagine if Caroline Lucas found out. She'd do her nut!}

Laban said...

I noticed comment at Alphaville the other day to the effect that declining retail sales might make more QE necessary.

It would be funny if they were serious. QE inflates commodities and import prices (via sterling depreciation). Wages are static, inflation ain't. Therefore, absent more debt or sending the kids up chimneys (the wife's been working for ages) disposable income MUST fall. So retail MUST be hit and QE is no solution - in fact it'll make things worse.

I'm presuming the QE adherents WANT inflation to rise and disposable income to fall, and this talk about shops is just the latest excuse. Adam Posen was quoted in the Telegraph a few weeks back as saying that you can't "crush" (his word) nominal wages, but inflation can do the job.

Old BE said...

This is the bit about empty shops that I don't get. Surely *someone* could make a stab at running a shop or office in an empty retail unit? On particularly badly-hit streets the rent (and therefore rates) must be falling towards zero?

Why are we not seeing a blooming of independent start-ups? Even grubby ones?

Old BE said...

Talking about m-commerce (although I can't quite imagine the format this refers to) I have noticed myself ordering from Argos on my phone in bed by reserving items for collection at my local high street store.

This is ultimate convenience shopping: you can browse the products and then make sure the shop actually has what you want in stock before you wander down there.

Anonymous said...

"Surely *someone* could make a stab at running a shop or office in an empty retail unit? On particularly badly-hit streets the rent (and therefore rates) must be falling towards zero?"

Here in Middlesbrough, someone is always making a stab, and they almost all fail after a few months.

It isn't the rent, it's the council tax, heating and lighting bills. Charity shops stay open because they don't pay tax.


James Higham said...

Anecdotally, I can confirm in our neck of the woods that the shops are being boarded up and the owners of businesses I spoke with put it down to council rentals and govt tax. That's how to boost the economy, no?

Bill Quango MP said...

Might have to look at this again. Was looking at the Game units today. The administrators are closing the expensive prime sites and moving everything to the 'b' location stores.
Game/Gamestation have been running two shops in towns that really only need one, for years.

BE: The independents have packed it in already. Not surprised. BQ industries is having its worst 1st 1/4 ever.

The shops that opened with hope in November but have closed already are hairdressers, art stores, florists, specialist spices, clothing,butchers bookshops, videogames and DVD stores.

Any of those would be a good fit for a gap toothed high street. I expect rates are far too high still to make a go of it.

And i got a circular that the council is raising parking charges. By only 10p an hour, but it hardly helps.

Old BE said...

I don't get this. Rates are supposed to be proportional to rents, aren't they? If rents have fallen to zero...