Walmart fights back against retail drop with strong earnings report

Despite figures last week confirming that American retail sales had suffered their largest drop in a decade, the supermarket chain Walmart says it isn’t feeling the pinch. The Asda-owner is the world’s largest retailer and has reported a 4.2% increase in sales in its US stores – much higher than the 3.2% growth that had been expected. Online sales rose 43% but, it wasn’t all roses for the retailer as higher prices rather than more shoppers were also said to have pushed up the sales figures.

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January goes down as another tough month for retailers

Retailers faced a tough January this year with total retail spend declining by 13.3% compared with December and consumer sentiment dipping to a seven year low.

Research carried out by the analytics company, GlobalData shows that online and in-store sales were on a par with those of the summer months. It is thought that spending will continue to fall in the run up and aftermath of Brexit as shoppers splash out only on essential items.

Emily Salter, Retail Analyst for GlobalData commented: “Although the online retail index fell more significantly than the instore retail index, this was not consistent across all sectors. In terms of clothing, instore spend declined the most versus December, as consumers increasingly prefer to shop for sale items online due to the comparative ease of browsing or searching for specific items, in contrast to often messy and uninspiring instore environments during markdown periods.”

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New scheme launched to benefit independent retailers with shopping centre space

A new competition has been launched which aims to champion independent retailers in towns and cities across the UK by making space available to them for free in shopping centres.

The competition has been launched by Revo, which represents a number of retail property owners. It says Hatch is a Dragon’s Den style challenge with winners given free space and marketing advice to sell their goods in pop-up stores. The independents who win Hatch will get free rent for a year in one of a number of shopping centres, plus business rates and service charges paid for.

Revo says that the pop-up industry is lucrative, worth an estimated £2.3 billion and will give creative, independent businesses the chance to breathe new life into shopping centres while also growing their brands. It has also called on the government to do more to revitalise the sector and ease some of the burdens being felt by retailers around the country.

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