Shoppers willing to spend despite election fears

Click-and-collect is a good way for bricks-and-mortar retailers to snag extra sales, according to a new report by IMRG.

Online retailers rely on promotions to secure healthy rise on 2009.

An early Easter skewed retail sales figures in April, but the attest figures from the BRC-KPMG Retail Sales Monitor show that shoppers were more willing to spend in April 2010 than April 2009.

Overall retail sales were down 2.3 percent in April but a three-month weighted average showed a 2.1 percent year-on-year rise in like-for-like non-food retail sales, which includes jewellery and watches.

General non-food like-for-like sales in April were affected by an earlier Easter as the period only counted Easter Sunday and Monday rather than the full Easter trading period as it did last year. The sector was also hit by pre-election uncertainty and cautious consumers choosing to buy favoured essentials over discretionary items.

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BRC director-general Stephen Robertson said: “There’s no question customers are more willing to spend than 12 months ago but are still nervous. People need to know how a new government’s moves to tackle the deficit will affect their incomes and jobs. Even if the measures are tough, knowing what they are could be better than the current uncertainty.”

Online, mail order and telephone sales registered a 15.9 percent rise in April compared with the same period in 2009, but retailers relied heavily on promotions to secure sales.

Robertson said: "Sales growth held up but retailers are having to work harder to maintain it. They’re running more promotions and discounts, especially on big-ticket items, and sending out more email marketing and brochures to alert potential shoppers."

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