How are the shops performing this Christmas?

December 20th, 2012 Category: Building Management

Retailers attach great importance to Christmas every year, but it can be particularly critical during economic difficulties.

Whereas consumers might tighten their belts for most of the year, many relax during the festive season as they rush to snap up gifts, food and drink.

Britain may finally have emerged from its double-dip recession but the economy is by no means out of the woods just yet. So how are shops doing at the moment?

According to the CBI, 36 per cent of retailers believe the volume of sales during the first two weeks of December was higher than it was at the same time last year. However, 17 per cent said sales volumes are lower than they were 12 months ago, so plenty of businesses are clearly still finding trading conditions difficult.

Much has been said in recent years about the competition physical stores are facing from the internet, as people are increasingly going online to purchase gifts and groceries.

So what can be done to keep people going to high street outlets and shopping centres?

Prices are undeniably critical, as shoppers want to know they are getting a good deal. But physical stores shouldn't overlook the fact that they can offer plenty that an online shop can not.

For instance, high street and shopping centre outlets can offer a pleasant, stimulating environment to visitors, which can help to encourage the idea of shopping as a day out and a social activity.

With this in mind, it could certainly be worthwhile for retailers to bring in facilities management specialists to ensure the premises is properly looked after and maintained.

After all, making sure a store is nice place to be is critical in ensuring people actually want to go and spend time there.

And of course this can make them far more willing to open their wallets and purses, which is essential for retailers at a time when consumers are largely putting a lid on their spending.