Free Essay: UK Retail Industry
Over the years, the UK retail industry has been doing fairly well. In 2012, wholesale and retail trade contributed to 16% of the total economic output. Currently, the retail and sales sector in the UK contribute to about three million jobs that are spread across the board ranging from customer service, distribution, logistics, finance, IT, e-commerce, product development, sales, marketing to several others. In 2012, the UK retail industry employed approximately 4.3 million people, equivalent to 15.9% of the entire population of Great Britain. Besides, it should also be noted that the UK has got the most number of international retailers globally.
Generally the retailing industry in the UK is one that has demonstrated growth over the years. However, the industry has of late been subjected to lot of pressures that have significantly hampered most of its operations. Shifting shopping patterns of consumers is one of the pressures that are facing the industry. Besides, the recent downturn in UK’s economy is yet another reason why the retailing sector has not been doing great. As a result of the economic downturn, quite a number of consumers were affected, thus, reduced their spending.
Despite the pressures of online retailing, recession, growth and evolution of supermarkets, the UK retail industry has not completely gone under the bridge. In fact, it still doing better compared to those of most countries. In April 2014 alone, consumers spent up to Euro 27 billion in the retail sector including online and in-shops. The largest share of consumer spending was on food stores that accounted for 47% of the total spending. 46% consumer spending was dedicated to non-food stores with the remainder on other retailers like mail order catalogues and market stores.
Currently, it is estimated that there are about 428,000 businesses that are operating in the UK retail industry. The retail industry accounts for 8.9% of all businesses in the United Kingdom. The sector can be divided into specialized and non-specialized stores. Non-specialized retail stores are those that deal in a wide range of products like supermarkets, department stores and convenience shops. In 2012, the non-specialized stores accounted for up to 20% of all the retail businesses in the United Kingdom. Besides, they also contributed to 51% of the total retail turnover.
As at 2013, the groceries retailers continued to showcase the strongest growth in the UK retail industry. In fact, it remains as the dominant retailing sector in the industry driven by modern grocery with a chain of stores in smaller town and city centers across the UK. Apparel and footwear retailers are also showing great improvement closely behind grocery stores. Tesco is currently the largest retailer in the UK, followed in closely by Asda Stores, J. Sainsbury and Wm Morrison Supermarkets.
As a result of the improved economic prospects, there are chances that the UK retailing market is going to enhance its performance based on the boost in consumer confidence. It is likely that the groceries retailers are still going to be the main beneficiaries into the future.
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