Between Brexit wobbles and continuing government austerity measures, the UK retail sector faced tough challenges in 2017.
But some unexpected rays of sunshine broke through the stormy weather.
If you’re thinking of investing in retail property as a landlord or launching a shop of your own, these four UK retail and commercial trends from 2017 will make interesting reading.
Rising inflation led to sales falls in every retail sector except food in July — according to ONS reports.
And high street shops that sell shoes and clothes suffered most, with a 0.5 per cent fall from June to July.
Unseasonably wet weather was one factor that may have kept shoppers away from high streets.
And online spending rose by 0.3 per cent month on month — perhaps reflecting a preference to shop in comfort from cosier homes.
Nielsen’s Global Survey of Consumer Confidence and Spending Intentions also revealed that more than half of Britons expressed an intention to reduce household spending in the second half of the year — bad news for supermarket and neighbourhood shops.
Retaining loyal customers was still a crucial factor for brands looking to stay afloat in 2017.
The PWC 2017 Total Retail report revealed that 65 per cent of UK shoppers consider themselves loyal — compared to 61 per cent in the rest of the world.
But brands who think they’ve got loyalty sussed shouldn’t rest on their laurels — it means personalised marketing is set to become even more crucial, especially online.
And competing brands in crowded marketplaces may have to differentiate through high service standards and competitive deals — which should be good news for consumers.
Investors looking for shops for sale in Scotland received welcome news from a CBRE report in Q3 of 2017.
There was a large boost in annual returns due to improved performance and the time elapsed since the Brexit vote.
The rebound was strongest in retail, but the performance gap narrowed compared to England in almost all markets.
And all Scottish cities recorded improved returns — even Aberdeen, which has been hit severely by low oil prices over the past few years.
If market buoyancy continues then Scotland looks the best bet for retail property investment outside of London and the South East.
London’s commercial property market saw record investment in 2017 — to the tune of over £20 billion.
Buyers hailed from 27 different countries and investment in the Square Mile was six per cent higher than the previous year.
Business insiders are expecting to attract Japanese investment next year and are confident in the market in the short-term.
But they need more reassurances from Government on the Brexit transition deal to retain a positive long-term outlook.
These four UK retail and commercial trends form 2017 should help you make wise moves in 2018.
What retail trends do you predict for 2018? Share your thoughts in the comments section.