Retail sector suffers poor sales after further bad weather

- - Business, Marketing

Business for British retailers was down again in April after more bad weather kept consumers at home. But what hope is there for this market and can bricks and mortar retail remain a driving force? Here is an examination of the state of play today.

retail sector

Retail Slump
High street businesses have been in trouble for some time, with many major names being erased from town centres due to a mixture of poor management and lower consumer spending levels. In fact, businesses which are in the position to harness XML applications for Cisco phones and take advantage of e-commerce to fight back are often better off than their less forward-thinking rivals.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) revealed that retail sales in April were down by 1.3 per cent compared to March and only up by half a percentage point year on year.

The bad weather is being blamed, with food sales taking the hardest hit with a 4.1 per cent slump registered. Using XML applications for Cisco phones can make retailers more agile and engaged with customers in a digital environment, but the bricks and mortar market simply is not able to secure the growth that struggling firms need to survive.

Inclement weather conditions meant that people decided to buy products online rather than head out to a high street retail outlet, according to the ONS. In fact this helped e-commerce sales increase by 10 per cent.

The dip in retail sales came as a real surprise since industry analysts had predicted that there would be little or no change. Experts believe that retailers can only make a comeback if they get in touch with what consumers want.

Silver Linings
The thing which businesses need to take away from these latest figures is that there are still ways to court customers and secure sales, even if they may not lie in traditional areas.

Being able to offer a multichannel shopping service which encompasses the web, mobile and high street is something that can help overcome slumps in spending like this and shore up retailers against potential problems.

This month saw an announcement from supermarket chain Morrisons in which it revealed that it would finally be joining the e-commerce market in partnership with delivery firm Ocado early next year. It had previously been criticised for allowing its competitors to take advantage of the growing number of web-savvy consumers who were buying groceries online rather than doing so in the shops.

Even e-commerce services which have previously focused solely on online sales have started to take the multichannel approach. An eBay executive spoke out recently about his company’s intention to be considered as a cross-sector commerce provider, rather than purely as a retailer that specialises in web sales and a digitally oriented set of operations.

You can find XML applications for Cisco phones to improve the responsiveness of your business and streamline internal and external communications. For retailers this could be a key tool that helps to overcome issues with sales.

Mary Yohanan writes news and comment pieces on private sector businesses and the economy for a number of publications. He has years of experience as a journalist both in the print sphere and now in the digital market.


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