Why Now Is A Time Of Opportunity For Retailers

When it comes to store maintenance, there are times when it has to be done out of necessity due to factors like flood damage or vandalism. But on other occasions, carrying out some work on a store can give it a fresh look to help attract more customers.

In tough times for consumers, which have been the case over the past 18 months, such an investment may have been seen as trying to help gain a bigger slice of a shrinking pie. Now, however, the opportunity may present itself for retailers to grab more as things start to grow again.

A trio of positive factors give grounds for optimism. Firstly, after slipping into recession at the back end of 2023, the economy has slipped out of it again – and in some style.

The 0.6 per cent growth estimated by the Office for National Statistics was impressive enough as a headline figure without ONS chief economist Grant Fitzner describing the economy as “going gangbusters”.

If that promises some better times ahead, so too does news of falling inflation. In particular, research firm Kantar has found that food price inflation is returning to normal levels, with the current rate of 2.4 per cent being the lowest since October 2021. 

However, while this sort of inflation level would normally see shoppers returning to old habits, the lengthy period of struggle people have faced will mean more people continue to stick with ‘own brand’ goods for longer, Kantar’s head of retail and consumer insight Fraser McKevitt observed.

This suggests stores that stock such goods in large quantities may continue to benefit from promoting them in the coming months.

A third factor is likely to be the summer of sport, as fans will often buy snacks and drinks (especially of the alcoholic variety) before sitting down to see football’s European Championships. With England among the favorites, this effect may last all tournament, something less likely in Scotland.

The Olympics may have a similar effect, particularly as they are being held in Paris, meaning they can be seen live at a more convenient time than the last two Games, in Tokyo and Rio. 

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