Wednesday 30 December 2020 11:27 am

Wonks expect retail to see a brighter 2021

Retailers can expect to see sales growth of as much as 3 per cent in 2021, according to a new expert report.

Pent-up savings and demand, more confident consumers and a successful vaccine rollout will all bring a boost, says the KPMG/Ipsos Retail Think Tank.

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The RTT, comprised of a host of industry experts, see growth picking up only in the second half of the year, however, meaning Government will need to offer support through the first two quarters.

Urgent reform of the business rates system is high on their list of Treasury asks.

Nick Bubb, an independent retail analyst, said there was “inequality” in the current regime which favoured online platforms.

“Perhaps one avenue to explore would be a re-worked business rates system which levies taxes on the distribution and warehousing space used by online retailers, helping to reduce the burden on the high street,” he said.

Consumer behaviour is the great unknown, reckon other experts. Many Brits have shifted to online retailers throughout the course of a year disrupted by ongoing lockdown restrictions.

But Martin Hayward, Founder of Hayward Strategy, says he’s “sceptical” that there will be a permanent shift away from bricks-and-mortar retail.

“When it’s deemed safe to do so,” he said, “there will be household bubbles bursting with savings to spend in the hospitality and leisure sectors, and some high streets and shopping centres will see a return to normal levels of footfall.”

The rate of growth, reckon the RTT, will be anywhere from flat to an increase of 3 per cent across the board.

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