British Retail Consortium

Good time for shoppers, says retail boss

Today Programme

BBC Radio 4

People in a shopping centre

Helen Dickinson, the head of the British Retail Consortium, has said issues in the retail industry mean it is a good time for shoppers.

She told the Today programme: "Every retailer has been working really hard to deal with the environment that we are in. There are a lot of public policy costs like business rates and the apprenticeship levy that are weighing down on many businesses.

"Some businesses are doing well in that environment and being able to have the backing to be able to meet the demands of their customers, and others have got legacy issues and are finding it much more difficult.

"The sales figures for October were slightly better than we’ve seen in recent months, but retail sales overall are marginally growing at best. So the outlook is quite a challenging one.

"On the one hand, there will always be winners as well as losers, and I think it’s a real opportunity for us all as shoppers to get that intensity of competition which means that we have great deals on offer.

"I think there’s a real opportunity also for the manifestos of the political parties to think about what environment they want to create for retail of the future, as this transformation is ongoing and they could start with reforming the business rates system."

Challenge for retailers

Chief Economist at Panmure Gordon tweets