Data released today by cloud-based point of sale software Vend and LDC as a partner with the British Independent Retailers Association (bira) reveals that the retail sector could be strengthening in 2017 after years of decline and small gains.
However, growth remains cautious in the wake of political uncertainty and inflation impacting consumer confidence, coupled with costs of owning and operating stores. SMB retailers still need better access to tools to help them compete, so this month Vend is offering UK stores the chance to win a £20,000 package to support their growth.
Data from bira shows that across independent retail, more shops were opened than were closed in the first quarter of 2017. This was an increase of +414 shops in the first three months of 2017, around 4 new stores per day, compared to a net increase of just +4 shops in H1 2016 and a decline of -194 shops in the first half of 2015. Other recent bira data shows a net increase of +159 stores in 2016 overall.
These figures are supported by Vend’s customer data, which shows a 15% increase in sales and retail spending in the first quarter of 2017 compared to the same period last year, based on a sample of 1,000 UK Vend retailers. In London, where Vend has a large concentration of independent retail customers, sales rose by 18% in Q1 compared to last year, however spending only increased by 3%.
Marc Cooper, Vice President EMEA at Vend said: “Despite concern around elections and the economy, its great to see retail starting off the year strong. In this kind of competitive environment though, it’s so important for independent retailers to have access to the same tools and insights the big retailers have. And stores that already have this are seeing some amazing results, such as London retailer Number Six which has had 40% growth thanks to implementing a cloud system. We’re offering this retail package of tech and marketing to give another retailer this same advantage. While we don’t yet know what the rest of the year will bring, we want to ensure local retailers are in good stead to ride whatever waves come in.”
Alan Hawkins, CEO, British Independent Retailers Association said: “One of the biggest challenges for retailers is attracting customers in the changing retail environment. Traditional retailers are under pressure and access to the technology that enables them to reduce costs, open new outlets or pop-ups, and easily offer eCommerce options can really stimulate growth. While our data for the first quarter of this year is still a way off the 11 store openings a week we saw in 2010, it is certainly a big step in the right direction for the sector.”
Vend is offering one UK retailer the chance to win a ‘Retail Growth Package’ for their business, worth £20,000. The prizes consist of software and services vital to helping facilitate growth, including £6,000 of retail technology, £7,000 of retail support and £8,000 of street marketing.
Details of the competition draw and how to apply are available at vendhq.com/london. The deadline for competition entries is 12th June 2017.
LDC is the UK’s leading data creator using real people on the street to acquire the most up to date, on demand location and company specific data for the retail and leisure sectors.