Business confidence in the Swedish retail industry increased in August, however the situation remains tough for many traders, new data from Svensk Handel has shown.
According to the representative group, future indicators for both food and non-food retailers have increased, albeit from low levels, however there is an underlying uncertainty as to the effect that the coronavirus could have on employment in the sector.
Signs Of Recovery
"Confidence in the retail trade has, in accordance with the economy as a whole, recovered somewhat during the summer months," commented Karin Johansson, CEO of Svensk Handel. "However, the level is still well below neutral."
She added that few retailers are willing to invest in their businesses due to the "uncertain situation" the sector finds itself in.
Despite the slight increase in confidence, business expectations remain a good deal lower than at this time last year, Svensk Handel said.
Commenting on the growth of e-commerce, Johansson said that self-isolation has boosted online shopping in Sweden, while the coronavirus pandemic in general has "accelerated the digital transition" in the retail sector.
Last week, a separate study by Svensk Handel found that the current situation has been particularly challenging for the fashion industry, with clothing sales down 18.0% in July (and -17.8% for the year to date) and shoe sales down 24.4% in July (-33.0% year to date).
While fashion sales are showing slow signs of recovery, the overall sales loss for the industry is still 'extensive', according to Svensk Handel.
© 2020 European Supermarket Magazine – your source for the latest retail news. Article by Stephen Wynne-Jones. Click subscribe to sign up to ESM: The European Supermarket Magazine.