As clouds of uncertainty continue to hang over UK retailers, it is comforting to hear the Topps Tiles boss speak of silver linings.
Matthew Williams told Retail Week today that, “while we’d all love a stronger market to trade in”, tougher conditions will present opportunities.
After unveiling a rise in full-year sales and profits, the flooring specialist’s boss said “there’s lots to be positive about”, pointing to healthy like-for-likes, growing market share and a “greater than expected” halo effect from Topps Tiles’ 15 boutique stores.
Williams is set to open another 15 stores in its new financial year, to “plug the gaps” in the retailer’s UK coverage.
And he maintains that, despite wavering consumer confidence, the business is “well-positioned” to battle the softer market as a result of its strategy and investment.
Another home retailer retaining its confidence in Britain is Swedish furniture giant Ikea.
Reporting its fifth consecutive year of UK growth, country manager Gillian Drakeford said that Ikea “supports the decisions that the UK has made” and confirmed the retailer will press ahead with plans to double the size of its British business, despite “uncertainty”.
After opening its first new superstore in seven years in Reading, it is getting set to open others in Sheffield, Greenwich and Exeter.
Elsewhere, while the online growth of Black Friday was not as radical as anticipated, John Lewis today hailed its “biggest week ever”, with the big day itself propelling sales upwards.
Quote of the day
“We have seen an irresponsible minority of privately held companies acting carelessly – leaving employees, customers and pension fund beneficiaries to suffer when things go wrong.” – Theresa May, the Prime Minister unveiled a crackdown on the lack of transparency of executives’ pay by private companies.
Today in numbers
Sales at John Lewis during Black Friday week
The number of shoppers that descended on the West End across the four-day Black Friday weekend
In the absence of any scheduled updates tomorrow, look out for GfK’s latest consumer confidence figures – a reliable measure of how the nation is feeling about its finances.
Emily Hardy, reporter