Sales fall predicted for high street retailers

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Thursday’s ONS figures expected to be lowest for 16 months.

The Office of National Statistics (ONS) will release its most up-to-date figures on Thursday, with a forewarning that October’s high street sales will be the lowest in 16 months as online shopping continues to attract consumers.

The Confederation of British Industry anticipates that, as the weather is set to take a turn for the worse and consumers continue to feel financially stretched, online shopping is set to surge as people look for commercially competitive deals off the high street.

The Confederation said that consumer spending fell in real terms this September as customers shied away from the nation’s high streets in the current economic gloom. Total sales value rose marginally by 0.3%, but this was offset by inflation, which has risen to about 4.5%.

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Recent reports have shown profit warnings issued by the British retailers are at alarming levels.

Kevin Flood, chief executive of social shopping search engine Shopow, said: “While many stores are still struggling to grow in the on-going difficult climate, we see an appreciation of online retail has increased and so we’re seeing innovation, with many start-ups focusing on enhancing the bargain hunting and online researching experience for customers.”

Social shopping has emerged as an exciting trend in online retailing as many high street stores look to engage consumers. It involves the use of social networking to share recommendations and discounts, post reviews and ask for advice on products before purchase.

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