News / Press Releases

SAS Institute Inc.
Tel: +44 (0) 1628 490490
e-mail saspressoffice@suk.sas.com
For more information on SAS, please visit www.sas.com/uk

Press Release

Printer-Friendly Printer-Friendly

News

 

2012 set to be another tough year for retailers, says SAS and Verdict

Consumer sentiment in austere times fuels stay-at-home mentality

28 December 2011 - The UK retail industry faces yet another tough year with UK retail spend expected to grow by only 1.2% in 2012 according to a new report from Verdict Research and business analytics company SAS. Food and grocery sales are the key drivers behind this growth (3.3% growth) as consumers spend more time at home in a bid to cut costs. Spending outside the food sector is expected to shrink by an additional 0.5%, meaning it has decreased by £9.5bn since 2008.

Retail expenditure has hit a low since the start of the recession in 2008, highlighting the increased pressure on both the retail industry and consumers. Expected growth in 2012 is the third lowest rate in the last 40 years, following only the growth seen in 2011 (0.9%) and 2009 (-0.4%). This demonstrates a significant change in attitude from extravagant to austere.

Maureen Hinton, practice lead, Verdict said "The first three months of 2012 will be the most difficult period for retailers as consumers cut back severely after the expensive Christmas period. Conditions will ease slightly with events such as Easter, the Diamond Jubilee and the Olympics improving consumer sentiment, but overall confidence will still be low. Real improvement and growth are only likely from October onwards when, as long as the weather is seasonably cold, consumers will be driven to buy seasonal essentials before the end of the winter retail season in December and get back into the Christmas spirit."

Alex Fovargue, retail specialist, SAS retail practice UK & Ireland, commented "As consumers continue to cut back on their spending, the pressure on retailers intensifies so it is now even more important to look at strategies to maximise sales and maintain margins. Monitoring customer behaviour is critical as the information that retailers have about their customers from till receipts, credit and loyalty cards and even social networks can steer understanding of purchase patterns and consumer needs. Convenience and online shopping will be particular growth areas for grocery with this new stay-at-home mentality for example. Using this insight to drive marketing and business development should be at the heart of retail business strategy."

Key findings include:

  • While food and grocery sales will increase, sales are expected to be dominated by big retailers who have plans to grow new and existing shops by 5.5% in 2012. Tesco will be the most challenged grocer as its rivals open competing branches in more and more of its prime locations.
  • Electricals, furniture, floor coverings and the DIY and gardening sectors will continue to be worst hit, shrinking by £900m year on year. These sectors are heavily dependent on consumer sentiment and the state of the economy so are unlikely to improve until at least mid-2013.
  • Clothing and footwear will grow by 2.4% but this equates to just £14 extra per head as prices are higher than in previous years. Consumers are buying less extravagantly than they were before the recession. Even young fashion retailers will no longer have the advantage of a resilient target market as young people are feeling the pinch with fewer job prospects and higher further education fees.

About SAS

SAS is the leader in business analytics software and services, and the largest independent vendor in the business intelligence market. Through innovative solutions delivered within an integrated framework, SAS helps customers at more than 50,000 sites improve performance and deliver value by making better decisions faster. Since 1976 SAS has been giving customers around the world The Power to Know® .

For further information, please contact the team at the SAS press office on:
Tel: +44 (0) 1628 490433
e-mail saspressoffice@suk.sas.com
For more information on SAS, please visit www.sas.com/uk

Copyright © SAS Institute Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Editorial Contacts:

ILLUSTRATING RETAIL SECTOR FORECAST FOR 2012 
Download high resolution graphics  (1.4MB compressed .zip file)