This Week in Retail

This Week in Retail

From the welcome news that retail sales saw a boost in January to Ebay and HMV, we take a look at what’s been going on in the world of retail and how it affects Post Office.

Total Retail Sales Increase by 2.2%

Retail sales rose in January, following a difficult December period, as shoppers looked for bargains and prioritised value for money according to the British Retail Consortium-KPMG report. Total retail sales increased by 2.2% year-on-year in January.

Ebay celebrates "record” earnings

The online marketplace saw a record increase in sales of 6.3% (to £2.19 billion) year-on-year in the final quarter of last year. In the 3 months to December 2018, Ebay said active buyers on its marketplace were up 4%, accounting for £1.75 billion of its total revenues.

Zero-waste platform developed by TerraCycle, Procter & Gamble, Nestle & Unilever

Millions of people watched David Attenborough’s Blue Planet II which has sparked a growing trend towards reducing plastic pollution over the last few years. A new zero-waste platform, Loop, from a coalition of major consumer product companies, will launch its first pilots this year. The model is similar to the milkman of the past: consumers will be able to order products e.g. shampoo, pay a deposit for the reusable bottle, and when the container is empty, go to the Loop website to request a delivery driver to pick it up.

Find out more here.

Sainsbury’s – Asda Merger Decision Delayed

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has delayed its decision on the merger by two months until the end of April. If the merger is approved, the combined business would take over Tesco’s lead in the grocery market with a share of 31%.

HMV stores bought out by Sunrise Records

Chief executive of Canadian firm Sunrise Records, Doug Putman, has bought 100 stores out of administration, saving 1500 jobs, but 27 stores will still close. He referred to the HMV as a “heritage brand” and stated that, "There's no doubt that online is a big part of overall retail sales. But people like to come into a store, have an experience, talk with someone who understands music, loves music, loves video and entertainment. If you think online is the only future I don't think that is the case.”

What does this mean for Post Office?

There’s reason to be cheerful about the boost to retail sales this January, but customers are increasingly looking for value for money. Ebay’s success suggests that marketplace sellers (one of our key customer groups) are increasingly important in how the world of retail is changing, and it’s vital that we provide the best possible experience for them in Post Offices.

Huge brands such as Procter & Gamble, Nestle and Unilever are starting to cater to the growing customer demand for environmentally friendly retail products, which means this trend shows no sign of slowing. And lastly, if Sunrise Records can make a success out of HMV, it will point to a growing movement away from solely online purchases – the high street has a role to play yet.