We know sales can be hit by a whole load of factors, some of which could be prevented by our marketing moves, while others are just impossible to foresee. Apparently, what influenced brick-and-mortar retail sales and online shopping in April was… the weather.
This is what a new report from the British Retail Consortium (BRC) and KPMG claims shaped the picture of UK retailing last month. Because of the heavy rain, many consumers preferred to stay at home and buy what they need on the web, driving online sales up by 9% compared to the same period last year. By contrast, high street sales dipped by 1% year-on-year and 3.3% on a like-for-like basis.
Nevertheless, the growth in e-commerce in April was the slowest since November 2011 and although this could be explained with the very strong performance in April last year, Stephen Robertson, director general of the BRC, thinks that the latest figures might be reflecting a trend.
In fact, he notes that growing at a slower rate could be expected for online shopping, as this typically signals that the market is maturing. In addition, with heavy rain and relatively cold weather, consumers felt no need to buy any substantial amounts of summer goods, he says.
The best thing retailers can do to minimise the effect of variables such as the weather is to make sure consumers are offered the best conditions for multichannel shopping, the report concludes.