British high street sales projected to reach £342 billion in 2014
High street retail sales in the UK are expected to reach an all-time high in 2014.
The British retail sector can look back fondly over 2014 as it celebrated a record-breaking year, according to figures from the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills.
The report shows that sales for the year are expected to reach £342 billion over the year, that’s a £48 billion increase from 2010.
Over three million people are employed by the retail sector and it also boasts around 90,000 apprentices, which accounts for around ten per cent of the UK workforce.
The healthy retail sector is returning to levels not seen since the financial crisis, helped higher by the advent of highly anticipated discount days such as Black Friday and Cyber Monday – pre-Christmas November sales are 5.2 per cent higher than last year. Also, around £1.3 billion is expected to have been spent on December 23rd, which should make it the UK high street’s busiest shopping day of the year.
“The return of the high street is fantastic news and goes to show that we are on course for prosperity. More business are starting up, thriving and creating jobs for people,” said business minister Matthew Hancock.
“We have consistently backed retail and the review of business rates announced in this year’s Autumn Statement should be another big boost for Britain’s high streets,” he added.
Small firms make record turnover in 2014
Not only that, smaller firms have also surpassed previous records as the figures show they turned over an estimated £72 billion over 2014.
The success of independent retailers was boosted higher by schemes such as Small Business Saturday, which saw 16 million people shopping in small independent businesses on December 6th, 2.7 million more than the previous year. This increase equates to a total of £504 million passing through the tills of small retailers, up £36 million from 2013.
“The rise of independent retailers is testament to the wave of entrepreneurialism sweeping the UK as part of our strong economic recovery,” said Mr Hancock.
< Top image: Henry Burrows >