Retailers benefit from resilient consumer demand

Retail spending continues to defy poor consumer confidence as the British Retail Consortium reported relatively robust high street spending in February. Higher prices have seen the volume of goods sold decrease slightly but the value of monthly sales increased by 6.7%, considerably above the 12-month average of 2.4%. Landlord Hammerson said footfall in its shopping centres is back to 90% of pre-Covid levels.

Hammerson said the outlook remains mixed, however. It expects its best locations with premium brands to remain busy but said other locations are starting to see the first signs of cooling. The mixed picture is reflected by businesses with significant high street operations. Greggs said its revenue and profits increased, despite rising costs, and announced plans for another 150 outlets. Next and Primark owner Associated British Foods have recently reported strong trading. However, some retailers are expected to struggle as the rising cost of living erodes disposable income and online retailers have seen sales decline.

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