Retail sales fell again in April by 3% but a large chunk of that was due to a fall in petrol sales. The underlying fall was 1% so there are still problems on the high street.
However what is going on online?
According to reports over the weekend, Canon is expected to pump £10m into Jessops, the camera store with over 200 stores. Jessops came close to administration a few years ago but was saved by its main lender HSBC in a debt for equity swap which saw it being taken off the stock market. The firm is facing stiff competition from online retailers. The company lost £12m on sales of £304m to January 2011. It is understood that Canon are keen to prop up the company as they value the shops presence on the high street as it allows shoppers to test and try their products before buying them online. Surely other manufactures may take a similar line. Clothes, Books, kitchenware.... Online sales purchasing is currently showing year on year growth of 10%. Of course the “ I need it now” impulse might keep this trend in check.
So will shops become just glorified frontages for online stores? Electronics lend themselves to this sort of buying behaviour but it may only be a matter of time before shoppers will come home with no bags and await all their goods to be delivered at home! Webvan anyone?