Trade predicts 2015 business boost

Retailers are convinced that business will be better in 2015 than this year as consumer confidence and spending power rises, according to OLN research.

We polled hundreds of independent wine merchants and head office staff at the multiples, and 61% of them said next year will see an improvement on 2014.

Just 8% thought it would be worse and the remaining 31% said it would remain the same.

One retailer said: “We are seeing consumers having more money and more confidence to trade up, so we are confident business will pick up next year.”

Another added: “Good autumn weather really helped this year so, as long as it holds up next year, business should improve, provided we really are coming out of this recession.”

Consumer confidence reached a seven-year high in the third quarter of 2014, according to Nielsen, which said the last

time shoppers were this upbeat Gordon Brown had just become prime minister and MySpace was more popular than Facebook.

It added that positivity about job prospects is also at a seven-year high, the proportion of consumers willing to spend money is at its highest level for eight years and the number of consumers who believe the UK is in a recession is at the lowest point on record (Nielsen Survey of Consumer Confidence & Spending Intentions).

One retailer who predicted a business boost in 2015 said: “We have upgraded our store and started stocking more expensive wines because there is more demand for them.”

As confidence among shoppers has risen the take- home BWS market has enjoyed growth, with volume sales up 1% and value sales climbing 3% to £15.5 billion (Nielsen, year to September).

When we asked how business has been throughout 2014 compared to the previous year, retailers backed this up as 47% said it had been better, 34% said it had been the same and 19% said worse.

But retailers are confident that business will be even better in 2015, with 60% of independents predicting a rise in fortunes. The few who said they feared it would be worse cited the opening of a new multiple nearby as cause for concern.

Sixty-three per cent of head office staff at multiples predicted 2015 would be an improvement upon 2014.

But first up is the key Christmas trading period, and 49% of the retailers we polled said they expected it to be better than last Christmas, with 37% anticipating a similar level of sales and 14% expecting it to be worse.

The UK retail channel enjoyed its best growth in five years during November as sales grew 0.9% (KMPG).

Helen Dickinson, director general at the British Retail Consortium, said: “These are encouraging signs in the run-up to Christmas when consumers will likely want to push the boat out even more.”

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