It’s that time of year again - ‘tis the season to be merry, deck the halls with boughs of holly and…..yes, you guessed it - make predictions on what might happen in retail in the forthcoming year.
For this - our final blog of 2017 - we thought we'd give it over to the social media team at Poundland (in spirit at least) to offer some alternative and light-hearted insights into the year ahead.
So how might 2018 unfold? Strap yourself in and let’s find out.......
Returns Surpass All Expectations
Whilst £1.4bn was spent in the days leading up to Christmas, retailers scratch their heads as the value of returns hits £1.5bn. The fact that many of these are unwanted rubik’s cubes and Super Mario games raises eyebrows but confirms why 2017 proved a tough year for toy retailers.
Buzz Lightyear declines to comment.
Ashes Defeat Brings Aussie Backlash
England arrive back at Heathrow airport having not only been whitewashed 5-0 once again in the Tests but also losing all the ODI and T20 internationals against an Australian Under 14 team.
This prompts a violent reaction back home against all things Australian.
BBQ’s are burnt at the side of the road and the backlash prompts further consolidation in the DIY market. The resulting B&B DIY chain is borne from the ashes of a brief but ultimately doomed foray into the UK market.
Hammond Delivers Spring Statement
Philip Hammond delivers what commentators describe as a “Spring Statement for the High Street”.
Finally acknowledging the fact that retail is the UK’s largest private sector employer, Hammond announces a compulsory land grab from Landlords for retailers who, overnight, are now free to own their own store estate.
“See it, grab it, sorted” he proclaims.
Amazon Launches Virtual Hairdresser Chain
In a move sure to trim the margins of traditional High Street hairdressers still operating from brick and mortar premises, Amazon once again demonstrates its ability to disrupt by opening a chain of virtual online hairdressers.
Using what Amazon describes as an advanced algorithm using a unique mix of virtual & augmented reality, ingeniously coupled with artificial intelligence and a digital inverter (borrowed from the latest Samsung washing machine) Amazon claim to have finally cracked what was previously an offline only market.
And whilst critics claim that the move represents death by a thousand cuts for traditional hairdressers, an Amazon spokesperson said that the trial in Seattle was “a head of schedule”.
Subscriptions Overtake Sales
The concept of actually buying something outright is consigned to history as subscriptions overtake sales for the first time. Everything from food to electricals to relationships can now be purchased on a monthly subscription plan.
This has huge implications for the car industry which continues its rapid decline into obscurity.
The combination of the subscription model coupled with a strong desire by Generation Z for the retro artisan look sees British Leyland open a Morris Minor pop-up shop in Westfield.
May Resigns, Markle Sparkles
In a month where Theresa May resigns, citing the rising cost of first class Eurostar return tickets to Brussels, the Queen’s speech is delivered by Meghan Markle – “to engage more with millennials” the Palace observes.
National Living Wage, already the subject of a whopping 4.4% rise in April is given a 300% boost in Meghan’s landmark speech. Unsurprisingly this has an impact on retail businesses who either bring forward their Artificial Intelligence and robotic automation initiatives or simply go out of business.
Somewhat absent mindedly, she omits to ask Jeremy Corbyn to form a Government.
Green Rampant After Triumphant Return
After a bitter Tory leadership battle, Damian Green replaces Theresa May to become Leader of the Opposition, completing a remarkable turnaround. “It was all a storm in a D cup” he remarks somewhat sagely of his laptop indiscretion just 8 months previously.
The sound of rejoicing in Whyteleafe can be heard in Westminster.
Corbyn Cabinet Shuffle: Abbot Made Transport Minister
After a team building away-day at Butlins, Jeremy Corbyn announces his new cabinet with the role of Transport Minister going to Diane Abbott.
She immediately cancels Crossrail 2 declaring that another £12.50 spent would simply be good money after bad and that “the 12 buses running up and down Oxford Street every day won't halt plans for pedestrianising it”.
Corbyn Cabinet Re-Shuffle: Abbott Made Chancellor of the Exchequer
After such a strong record as Transport Minister, Diane Abbott is made Chancellor of the Exchequer and sets about attracting the younger vote by not only handing out sweeties but abolishing VAT on smartphones for anyone born since 1995.
Apple rushes out the iPhone XI, XII and XIII; all distinctly exactly the same as the last. The anticipation amongst 3 year olds for the new iPhone XIV is palpable.
Singles Day Sales Surpass British GDP
Singles Day sales exceed total output of British GDP. Desperate to secure Britain’s post-Brexit blue passport future, Jeremy Corbyn agrees a trade deal with Jack Ma.
Turning Britain into an Alibaba distribution centre, Prime Minister Corbyn declares: "It's good for trade, good for jobs and - oh, now I come to think of it, good for nothing”
Spend, Spend Spend!
Despite inflation running at 25%, the pound devalued and the country on a 3 day working week the pre-Christmas promotions prove too tempting for bargain hungry Brits who attempt to spend their way out of abject misery.
“You’ve never had it so good” declares Jezza.
Damian Green claims the year has left a bitter sweet taste in the mouth. Er, yes, we know what you mean Damian.
Many thanks for reading our retail thoughts this year, we plan to bring plenty more for you in 2018 but in the meantime have a very Merry Christmas and a peaceful and prosperous New Year from all of us at Retail Reflections.