Consumer confidence remains fragile in light of Brexit concerns and dire warnings following last week’s Autumn Statement.
Shoppers are now braced for the prospect of rising prices and long-term stagnation in wage growth.
Despite Chancellor Philip Hammond’s plans for widespread investment, the headlines were grabbed last week by the Office of Budget Responsibility’s warning that Brexit will cost the UK close to an eye-watering £60bn.
This week we’ll get a snapshot of how consumers are feeling amid the swirl of this uncertainty.
Market research firm GfK will publish its monthly figures, which are a reliable take on the financial temperature of Joe and Joanna Public.
Confidence down as sterling slides
Last month consumer confidence, according to GfK, edged down and the sharp decline in sterling’s value was blamed. That was despite interest rates and inflation remaining low.
All retailers rely on consumers feeling happy to part with the pound in their pocket, not least flooring specialist Topps Tiles.
We’ll get a taste of how the Leicester-headquartered retailer is feeling about life when it reports full-year figures this week.
In October, chief executive Matthew Williams revealed it had been impacted by falling consumer confidence which led to its lowest like-for-like sales growth for two years.
Topps on top for market share
Analysts have suggested, however, that Topps is well placed to grab market share because it has developed new ranges, boosted the in-store experience, developed a smaller store format and launched a digital loyalty scheme. Since October last year it has introduced around 50 new ranges.
Tomorrow will show exactly how its bottom line has fared in the year. And any commentary on how it sees 2017’s prospects, with the housing market expected to slow, will also be interesting.
Meanwhile, retailers will be hoping shoppers who missed out on Black Friday will be tempted to spend on Cyber Monday.