Bloomberg News

European Christmas Sales Set to Repeat 2010 Gain on Web Growth

October 25, 2011

Oct. 26 (Bloomberg) -- European retailers can anticipate similar revenue growth to last year during the peak Christmas selling season as increased spending online compensates for weaker store sales, according to research published today.

Retail sales across the region will climb 1.4 percent to 319.1 billion euros ($445 million), repeating the previous year’s gain, according to a study commissioned by the Kelkoo price comparison website and conducted by the Centre for Retail Research in Nottingham, England. Online revenue will grow 17 percent to 39.5 billion euros, while store sales are likely to fall 0.5 percent to 279.6 billion euros, the report shows.

The Web will represent about 12 percent of European retail sales in the six-week Christmas period, up from 6.9 percent three years ago, the study shows. Growth online will help compensate for a third year of declining store sales, as inflation and falling confidence dent shopper spending. European retailers typically get as much as 18.5 percent of their revenue in the last six weeks of the year, according to the report.

“Online spending is showing no signs of abating, and is mounting a real challenge to the dominance of the high street,” Kelkoo Chief Executive Officer Richard Stables said in a statement. “In the meantime, a climate of government cuts and economic uncertainty is likely to undermine consumer spending, meaning consumers are likely to remain as determined as ever to make sure they are getting the best prices.”

Germany will lead growth in Christmas retail spending with a 2.7 percent gain, followed by Norway, France and Sweden, according to the report, which predicts that Spain will be the only European country to register a decline.

In the U.K., 63 percent of people are expected to spend more or the same amount as last year, according to a separate report published today by online discount retailer BrandAlley UK, with 70 percent of consumers relying on pre-Christmas discounts for their shopping.

--Editors: Paul Jarvis

To contact the reporter on this story: Sarah Shannon in London at sshannon4@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Celeste Perri at cperri@bloomberg.net.


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