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UK lockdowns highlight importance of international opportunities

26th Nov 2020 4 min read

Figures from the British Retail Consortium show that UK sales were up 5.2% on a like-for-like basis in October – an increase which excludes temporarily closed stores, but takes online sales into account.


On a total basis, last month saw a 4.9% increase. The same rate as the current three-month average.

In the three months to October, food sales were up 5.8% on a total basis, with non-food up 5.7%. Meanwhile, online non-food sales were up 39% in October, with the highest online penetration rate recorded since June. However, the England-wide lockdown during November will inevitably impact sales in the pre-Christmas period, with some estimates forecasting weekly declines of around £2bn as a result of the new restrictions.

Amid the latest round of lockdowns across the UK, the importance of international sales for wholesale and retail businesses has only increased. In the latest edition of our Trade Barometer, published in October, we found that firms in the sector saw the most significant future export opportunities in Europe (31%), North America (30%), Greater China (24%) and Japan and South Korea (21%).


International opportunities

There are major challenges involved in taking advantage of these international opportunities. The research found that retailers and wholesalers face issues such as transportation costs, logistics, lack of knowledge of international trade and a lack of market insight for remote markets.

Clearly, businesses need a range of support in order to succeed on the international stage. These range from access to trusted buyers, partners, and suppliers; help with overcoming bureaucracy and logistics issues; innovative banking solutions; local support and expertise with setting up overseas; and recruitment of the right skills to support with these challenges.  

The United States remains a competitive and attractive marketplace. We’ve re-shared our webinar looking at opportunities in the US, with a focus on optimising brands to take advantage of the new digital shift. You can listen again here

We’re also re-sharing our webinar ‘Supply chain diversification and finance opportunities in India for homewares and fashion industry’, which you can listen to again here

We can now offer homeware and fashion brands supply chain optimisation via SupplyCompass, a production platform empowering fashion brands and manufacturers to produce better, together. The platform enables you to manage the entire product development, sourcing and production process from design right through to delivery, all in one place. Their flexible approach enables you to onboard your own manufacturers through their smart platform to enable more collaborative work or you can tap into their extensive network of new suppliers based in India and Portugal. 

We also have an integrated supplier finance solution to support working capital requirements, which may be strained by new suppliers’ credit terms. More details can be found here

To discuss how we can help your business please email Sukh Nat on