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Barclays Christmas Survey 2015 reveals retailers all set for Christmas trading period to begin

  • A record 77% of UK retailers are more confident about Christmas trading this year compared to last year, and 79% expect revenue to increase
  • 77% of UK retailers also say they will hold a Black Friday promotion, with 69% predicting sales will rise compared to Black Friday 2014; only 4% predict a fall
  • The majority of retailers expect mobile to be the channel experiencing the biggest sales growth (56%)
  • Click and collect expected to be the delivery channel with the biggest growth, experiencing a predicted 25% increase compared to 2014

New research from Barclays has revealed confidence is high in the retail sector as the Christmas period approaches. More than three quarters of retailers reported that they are more confident about Christmas trading this year (77%), and an even higher proportion (79%) expect revenue to increase, with 14% predicting their revenue will rise by more than 10%.


The Barclays Christmas Survey also examined the growing significance of Black Friday, the initiative imported from the USA, which sees significant discounts from many retailers on the fourth Friday in November. Black Friday has rapidly established itself as an annual fixture on the UK retail calendar and the survey reveals the extent to which it has made its mark in the UK. 77% of UK retailers plan to hold a Black Friday promotion this year, up from 73% last year, with 69% expecting sales to rise compared to Black Friday 2014, and only 4% of those surveyed anticipating a fall.


When asked about the channels and methods of delivery they expect to be most popular this year, the majority of retailers revealed that they expect mobile to experience the biggest sales growth (56%). On average, retailers expect mobile sales to grow by a staggering 52% compared to last year. With regards to delivery channels, click and collect is expected to continue its rise in popularity, with an estimated 25% increase in orders.


Ian Gilmartin, Head of Retail and Wholesale at Barclays, commented: “It’s our 3rd year compiling the Barclays Christmas Survey and the results are more positive than ever. The overwhelming confidence around prospects for the whole Christmas season is great to see.


“When Black Friday first came to the UK, the industry speculated about whether it was just a fad or would really take hold. This research shows that it appears to be here to stay, as for the first time, more than three quarters of retailers plan to hold a promotion. As long as retailers focus on selected lines and manage the level of discounting appropriately, this increased participation can contribute to a successful Christmas season.”


Looking at specific sectors, retailers identified electricals as the category most likely to see the best growth this Christmas, followed by beauty and health, and luxury products, perhaps reflecting increasing confidence and spending power from some consumers.


Despite the confidence indicated in the survey responses, when asked to identify the biggest threat to success this Christmas season, 41% of retailers selected logistics stress, almost double the number who picked IT failure, which was the next largest at 23%.


Gilmartin added: “Perhaps ironically, I’m pleased that we found retailers are conscious of the risk posed by logistics stress. I’ve seen over recent months the huge efforts the industry is making to ensure that we avoid some of the logistics challenges encountered last year, particularly around Black Friday. Although it will be a tough ask to meet the higher demand this year, I’m confident that the increased planning and resources retailers are employing will lead to a successful outcome, both on Black Friday and right through December.”

There is also good news for Christmas Day itself, with three quarters of retailers expecting to see an increase in traffic on their website on December 25th, with more than half of those surveyed expecting Christmas Day traffic to peak after 8pm.

About Barclays

Barclays is an international financial services provider engaged in personal, corporate and investment banking, credit cards and wealth management with an extensive presence in Europe, the Americas, Africa and Asia. Barclays’ purpose is to help people achieve their ambitions – in the right way.

With 325 years of history and expertise in banking, Barclays operates in over 50 countries and employs over 130,000 people. Barclays moves, lends, invests and protects money for customers and clients worldwide.

For further information about Barclays, please visit our website