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Retail & Wholesale: Trade Barometer research highlights international opportunities

Aerospace manufacturing grew 0.7% in August but was still down by 27.7% over the six months from February, new data from ADS shows.


The latest research found that while the impact of coronavirus has been considerable, there’s still a significant amount of optimism for the medium-term future. 59% of businesses which trade overseas are confident of growth in the next three years.


Importance of international trade

26% of businesses say international trade will be more important as a result of the pandemic, while only 5% say it will be less important. This is a clear indication of the growth opportunities many firms believe overseas expansion can offer.


Factors affecting growth

Looking specifically at the retail and wholesale sector, the Trade Barometer found that the factor most likely to have the greatest influence on businesses’ ability to grow over the next three years is a satisfactory Brexit conclusion (71%). This was followed by the general economic prospects in the UK (66%) and the impact of coronavirus (also 66%). Retailers and wholesalers are particularly concerned about the potential for the pandemic to cause more supply chain disruption in the months ahead.

The report also looked at the kind of assistance businesses are likely to need to realise their growth opportunities, both domestically and on the international stage. These include access to trusted partners, such as suppliers, new customers and advisors, as well as help in overcoming the red tape that often accompanies international trade.

We’re uniquely positioned to help through our sector and country experts, our relationships with trade, industry and international bodies, and through our network of banking groups via the global Trade Club Alliance.


Latest sector performance figures

As expected, new figures from the Office for National Statistics show considerable growth in the retail and wholesale sector (30%) in the three months to August. This covers much of the immediate post-lockdown period.

The BDO Tracker survey (which outlines sales changes of more than 85 retailers with some 10,000 individual stores) shows that homewares have continued their strong performance, with sales up 19.1% year-on-year in September on a like-for-like basis. Fashion sales, however, were down 6.1%, with in-store like-for like sales down more than 30%.

Meanwhile, online sales continue to show strong double-digit growth, spurred on by the back-to-school boost. Non-store like-for-like sales grew by almost two-thirds (65%) in September while in-store sales dipped by more than 23%.

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