Katie Baron on BBC News: ‘Retailers are trying to maintain equilibrium’

Date:Wednesday, November 28, 2018
Author:Charlie Gilbert

Katie Baron, our head of Retail, gave her reaction to the BRC-Nielsen Shop Price Index, and the possibility of a no-deal Brexit, on BBC News earlier today.

“Retailers” she explained, are “trying to maintain a sense of equilibrium in the face of so much uncertainty. They’re trying to make sure that consumers, who have never been more promiscuous, stick with them.”

Katie went on to predict that two things will happen, for the retail industry specifically, in the event of a no-deal Brexit.

“We’re already starting to see talk of stockpiling,” she said. “There’s a huge demand for warehouse space at the moment so this supply-and-demand situation doesn’t get out of control.

“From a consumer perspective,” she added, “we’re going to see people inching towards austerity mode – like we saw in the depths of the recession. We’ve already seen a bit of this in Black Friday, where the number of transactions went up, but actually people were spending slightly less. So it’s more about those small purchases, less investment-size purchases. There’s a general sense of caution.”

Katie was then asked whether, in the run up to Christmas, savvy shoppers were likely to move away from physical stores to online in search of better deals.

“There’s a myth in the retail world that people are either bricks-and-mortar or online shoppers,” she replied. “But actually statistics show that something like 77% of people now actually use both channels.

“Lots of people start their journey online and finish in physical stores.”

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