Brexit: U.K. Retailers Face Bleak Shopping Season

by MR Magazine Staff

British retailers are bracing for a very tough holiday shopping season. There are signs that beleaguered consumers will be putting fewer gifts under the Christmas tree this year because of higher prices, squeezed wages and rising interest rates. The Centre for Retail Research predicts that Brits will spend £476 ($628) this year on holiday gifts, which is virtually unchanged from last year. Early alarms have already sounded. Data from Visa and business advisory firm BDO show that October sales at brick-and-mortar shops declined 5% compared to the previous year. Spending on clothing and footwear was particularly weak. Online sales are rising, but not quickly enough to compensate for losses in the shops. “Falling real wages, muted consumer confidence and lingering uncertainties over the direction of the U.K. economy are having a substantial impact on spending,” warned Annabel Fiddes, an economist at IHS Markit who helped compile the Visa report. Read more at CNN Money.