By Rob Starr, Content Manager, Big4.com
According to new research from Deloitte, A Time for Christmas Cheer?, Christmas Retailers’ Survey 2012, despite a tough year, Australian retailers are more optimistic about Christmas sales than a year ago, with over two thirds (69%) expecting sales to be higher this season.
Less than 13% of retailers surveyed believe Christmas sales will be worse than 2011. However, there is less optimism around margin growth, with over 30% of retailers expecting no change and a further 34% expecting one to two per cent growth. Almost a third (32%) of retailers expecting to discount plan to do so by early December.
One surprising finding from the research is that 65% of respondents expect less than 2% of their Christmas sales to come from online. Australian retailers still see bricks and mortar stores as key to their growth prospects. While growth strategies vary widely across retailers and segments, 73% of respondents expect to increase physical store footprints, either through store numbers or floor space. One third (33%) also see new stores as being the most significant driver of sales growth in the next 12 months.
However, there is an expectation of significant growth in online sales, with nearly three quarters of respondents (68%) expecting more than 10% growth in online sales over the next year. One third (33%) of respondents also identified online offerings and new sales channels as their key strategic priorities in the next twelve months.