Few festive winners as online groceries and clothing shine
December capped a decent if unspectacular year for UK retail, according to Mastercard SpendingPulse. Holiday retail sales increased 2.2% YOY, ramping up in the final days before Christmas. E-commerce spending grew by 11.5% YOY in December.
There was weaker footfall in the Boxing Day sales, as shoppers were satiated by discounting around Black Friday. This impacted the YOY comparisons, as some holiday sales shifted into November results. The contrasting fortunes of High Street and internet retailing were encapsulated by the grocery sector. Overall spend on groceries grew by just 0.5% in December YOY, although that is before being adjusted for price inflation. Households were increasingly opting for supermarkets to deliver their Christmas food shopping as online grew by 10.7% YOY. This trend was also reflected in clothing. Overall spending fell by 1.3% while e-commerce went up by 13.7% YOY.
Scott Abrahams, Senior Vice President of Business Development at Mastercard UK & Ireland, says: “When looking at the year as a whole, 2017 saw retail sales increase 4%. Although Christmas trading was tough and showed a mixed performance among retailers, these results do show that there some areas of optimism for British retailers, particularly those with a strong online presence.”