High street woes knocking confidence of bricks and mortar retailers
It may not be a surprise that retailers are feeling shaky about the situation on our high streets. With a very difficult economic situation only just beginning to ease and with plenty of gaps still appearing for every Next, there’s plenty for physical stores to sweat over. However, it seems that online retailers aren’t similarly afflicted – according to research from web hosting company 34SP.com, more than three quarters of online retailers believe their sales activity will increase over the coming year.
The poll of over 1,000 small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) demonstrated 78% of those selling online were banking on an increase in sales over the next twelve months, whilst just a 27% of high street stores felt they could expect such luck. Both bricks and mortar and online-only stores feel the economy hasn’t yet returned to a state of good health, with four-tenths and a third of each respectively feeling the economy could be described as ‘bad’ and just 19% and 17% feeling the current state of the economy was ‘good’.
When asked how they saw things moving forward, once again digital retailers were the more bullish, with 41% stating that they thought the economy would be in a much fitter state in a year’s time. By way of comparison, high street sellers were more likely to view the glass half-empty, with only 36% believing we’d see an improvement by this time next year.
Daniel Foster, 34SP.com’s founder and technical director, commented, “What is clear from these figures is that online retailers feel much better placed to take advantage of an improving economic climate. “Although both e-commerce and high street businesses expect to see a significant improvement in the state of the UK economy over the next 12 months, online retailers feel more confident that this will feed through to stronger business performance.”
Regardless of the reasons behind it, it’s clear physical stores are feeling less cocksure about their futures. And whether these concerns are fully justified still remains to be seen.