Online retail news in brief (14 March 2018)


In case you missed them, we’ve pulled together a few online retail news highlights from around the web this week.

Here are some of the latest stories in online retail.

Chancellor delivers Spring Statement

Chancellor of the Exchequer Phillip Hammond has given his Spring Statement to Parliament.

  • The Office for Budget Responsibility has revised 2018’s GDP forecast slightly upwards, from 1.4% to 1.5%
  • Borrowing as a percentage of GDP to be 1.8% in 2018-19, 1.6% in 2019-20, 1.3% 2020-21, 1.1% 2021-22, 0.9% 2022-23
  • Inflation to fall to 2% by end of 2018
  • National Living Wage to rise to £7.83 p.h. in April 2018

Household spending falls in February

According to Visa’s UK Consumer Spending Index, households spent 1.1% less in February 2018 than in 2017. That follows a 1.2% year-on year decline in January 2018.

There was also a 2.5% decline in high street spend, marking the 10th consecutive month of face-to-face spending.

By contrast, Hotels, Bars & Restaurants saw a 4.4% increase in spend in February.

For statistics on online spend by sector, download the IMRG Capgemini Online Retail Sales Index.

High Street Footfall continues to drop

Data from Springboard shows a February decline in year-on-year footfall to high streets (-1.2%) and shopping centres (0.9%).

Retail parks, on the other hand, enjoyed an increase of 1.4%.

Meanwhile, the IMRG Online Retail Sales Index reported 13.9% year-on-year growth in online retail in January.

Grimsey’s High Street Task Force

Former Iceland chief Bill Grimsey is set to launch a second taskforce to save the high street, five years after his first.

The project will examine current challenges and threats to the High Street, in the hope of regenerating bricks and mortar shopping.

Grimsey stated: “Five years on the high street continues to face big challenges and now is a good time to take stock of what has changed. It is time to get this subject back on everyone’s agenda otherwise we will continue to sleepwalk into the remainder of the 21st century.”

Public enthusiasm for Oxford Street pedestrianisation

Transport for London received 22,000 responses in its consultation on the pedestrianisation of Oxford Street, 64% of which were in favour of the proposals.

The plans include the pedestrianisation of Oxford Street between Orchard Street and Oxford Circus, to coincide with the launch of the Elizabeth Line.

TfL and Westminster council are now considering the views of the 33% who were opposed to the plans.

Leggings and Mashed Potato to indicate cost of living

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) has announced a revision to the goods used to calculate the UK cost of living.

Among the new goods to feature in the statistics are women’s leggings and chilled mashed potato. The ONS is no longer taking into account pork pies, Edam, or leg waxing.

Cornish Clotted Cream Controversy Compounds Community Chasm

An advert from the Lanhydrock National Trust has sparked (tongue-in-cheek) fury from Cornish residents, after illustrating a Mother’s Day cream tea offer with an image of a scone with cream before jam. Cornish tradition holds that jam must be placed on the scone first, and that the reverse is a Janner heresy.

The Trust reassured citizens that the staff member responsible had been “marched back over the Tamar”.

Lanhydrock National Trust Clotted Cream Facebook Post

Join thousands of other Online Retail professionals

Get unique insights straight to your inbox for free, and improve your understanding of online retail. Subscribe to Online Retail Weekly now.

Data Summit 2019 scroll banner