Home News BRC and FSB report business decline for first quarter of 2013

BRC and FSB report business decline for first quarter of 2013

by Brian Sims

Retailers and small businesses both saw damage to business during the first quarter of the year following unseasonably cold weather, according to reports from both the BRC (British Retail Consortium) and the FSB (Federation for Small Businesses). The BRC report indicated that footfall in retail environments was down by 5.2 per cent on the same period in 2012. The prolonged cold weather has been cited as a reason for the poor figures, especially when compared with the unseasonably warm weather in March last year. Footfall weakened in all locations in March. High streets reported a fall of 7 per cent, with out-of-town retailers reporting a 4.2 per cent drop and shopping centres a 2.4 per cent decline. Helen Dickinson, British Retail Consortium Director General, stated, ‘The prolonged cold was the main culprit for deterring shoppers, especially compared against the far milder March of 2012. Although footfall did pick up around the Easter weekend, it couldn’t fully compensate for a weak showing across the month as a whole. ‘High streets were hit the hardest by the cold snap, as many favoured shopping under shelter rather than braving the elements. In February, high streets had been the standout performer, but March saw footfall growth slumping back. ‘March sales figures were fairly strong, even if you strip out the data for the Easter weekend which fell earlier this year than in 2012. This suggests that when people did venture out, they bought things, although the weather brought mixed fortunes for different categories as food did well but Spring and Summer fashions fared badly.’ The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) claimed the March freeze cost the UK’s smaller businesses

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