This week in retail - 7 June 2019

This week in retail - 7 June 2019

A sobering British retail sales report, plain packaging suggested for sweets, drone parcel delivery on the way in the US and longer life fruit and veg - we take a look at some of the week's retail and business news and what it means for Post Office. 

Decline in retail industry-wide sales figures

New figures just released by the British Retailing Consortium paint a gloomy picture of overall UK retail performance. Total sales across the country declined by 2.7% in May 2019 compared to May 2018, the biggest fall since 1995 when adjusted for Easter fluctuations. 

On a three-month basis, which smooths out some of the volatility in the numbers, non-food sales fell 1.1% in May across the UK.

While some of the fall is due to to strong sales this time last year, boosted by warm weather, a royal wedding and the buildup to the football World Cup, the current political and economic uncertainties are also a major factor, the report said.

Read more on the Bloomberg news site

Influential think tank calls for plain packaging on sweets 

Tobacco plain packaging legislation should be extended to apply to confectionery, crisps and sugary drinks, a think tank has recommended.

Read more in Convenience Store here.

Technology to extend fruit & veg shelf life set for UK launch

A ground-breaking plant-based formula that can  extend the shelf life of fruit and vegetables by up to four times is due for launch in the UK grocery market.

Read more in Convenience Store.

Amazon drones to deliver parcels in US  

In the US, Amazon has announced that it will start using drones to deliver parcels to customers' homes within months.

The drones will use sophisticated visual sensors and machine learning or AI to detect and learn to avoid common obstacles, like power lines and people, when landing.

Read more on i news

What's the least valuable British coin ever?

The government has decided to keep the penny piece following a consultation. This is despite a survey suggesting that six in 10 of UK 1p and 2p coins are only used once before being stored or discarded and meanwhile, the value of the penny is dropping.

Read this BBC article comparing the value of our smallest coins since the 18th century.

What does this mean for Post Office?

It comes as no surprise to anyone keeping an eye on news headlines and sales figures generally, that there is a lot of change afoot, fierce competition and a downward trend in some sectors.

The wider retail industry faces challenges however the convenience sector continues to grow. With so many Post Offices being paired with a convenience retail business it’s something we have to watch closely especially as things are constantly changing. 

Meanwhile, technological advances bring opportunities for retailers as well as challenges. Drone parcel delivery in the US, means at some stage a major retailer is likely to trial it here in the UK, adding even more competition in the parcels market, a core area for our business. 

The key to weathering all of this is to have a constantly evolving outlook that takes all of these external factors into account, while continuing to give excellent service, and building relationships by keeping the customer and their needs at the heart of all we do.