Retail Sales Figures May Have Taken a Dip But Online is Booming

Published 9th May, 2013 by Greg Ford

THE total value of UK retail sales in April was down 0.6% on the same month of 2012, in contrast to a 3.7% year-on-year rise in March, according to the British Retail Consortium (BRC) publishing its figures this week.

It appears that retail sales figures have proved volatile in recent months with bad weather to blame for the weak figures and high petrol prices deterring motorists from filling up their tanks. 

It’s not all doom and gloom though – According to the BRC, snow and the prolonged cold were not ideal but not a disaster. They brought mixed fortunes for different categories. Food sales rose by 0.9%, boosted by a continued appetite for hearty meals and wintry fare such as roasts and chocolate. But demand was cool for new season clothing and footwear lines, resulting in a decline for both categories.

Internet sales during the month have seen a boost too, rising by 8.3% with online sales of non-food goods picking up. 

So in spite of the squeeze, how are the retailers getting it right doing so in a recession?

When Exchequer customers and  internet entrepreneurs Holly Tucker and Sophie Cornish launched in 2006, they not only have become one of the most high-profile e-commerce business in Britain, revolutionising the way we shop but have helped SMEs to thrive in a downturn.

After launching, the founders learnt quickly that keeping an eye on the bottom line was key - from implementing their business model and legal requirements to selecting an efficient accounting software solution, taking business growth from £100,000 turnover in the first year to £100m at the end of last year.

The expectation is to grow by 100-percent this year and with their eye on Global dominance, the duo have introduced multi-currency functionality to their Exchequer system plus its first tv ad campaign along with a best-selling book.
As Tucker says in this month’s Director Magazine; "We didn't set out to break glass ceilings. We didn't set up to become a female-led entrepreneurial business with five of the best VC backers in the world, supporting the UK and changing the economy. That wasn't our mission, we don't want to be famous – we've got a job to do. We didn't realise the outcome of all that energy would be that we support 5,000 people now in the UK, not just through our business, but through the people our partners employ."

MDs face a challenging time ahead as the uncertainty of the state of the economy continues and there appears to be little respite from the challenging trading conditions. To thrive in these difficult times, Tucker and Cornish have embraced the tools available to them and taken advantage of the latest technologies to improve their business performance.  MD’s can learn a lot from the Notonthehighstreet model - through employing interactive ‘live’ dashboards to keep track of the status of the business, valuing and rewarding staff and keeping your pulse on not only your business but the wider economy will all assist in driving success and delivering results.

For advice on boosting your retail sales figures and thriving in difficult economy why not download our latest guide from Exchequer - 7 top tips for MDs to thrive? Click here to download.

To read this month’s Director Magazine article profiling’s success story in full click here.