The Barclays Christmas Survey 2016 found the majority of retailers are more confident about Christmas trading compared with 2015 (60%), with just over half expecting an increase in revenue on Black Friday (51%) and through the entire season (53%).
However, fewer retailers will take part in Black Friday discounting this year. Some 24% of those surveyed said they did not hold a promotion last year, increasing to 27% stating that they would not participate this time around.
Barclays said this may suggest that parts of the industry may be starting to resist what some see as an “unwelcoming” discounting event in the run up to the all-important Christmas trading period.
Despite speculation that the EU referendum vote might pose challenges for the end of year period, 63% of retailers predicted that Brexit will have no impact on Christmas spending this year.
When asked what factors they expect to have a positive impact on consumer spending, 42% cited more shoppers staying in the UK this Christmas as a potential boost to sales, perhaps in part due to the current value of sterling.
Just under half of those surveyed (48%) also expect the weaker pound to boost tourist or overseas spending, providing a further sales opportunity for UK retailers.
Online sales have continued to grow at pace throughout 2016 and retailers expect this trend to continue through the Christmas season, with three quarters (77%) predicting that mobile sales will be the channel with the biggest growth.
Meanwhile, just one in ten retailers (10%) claimed to be worried that their digital infrastructure may not cope adequately with the increased demand and 80% of retailers selected logistics as one of the top three areas of improvement they are focusing on this year.
Ian Gilmartin, head of retail and wholesale, said: “It’s very heartening to find that retailers are optimistic about their prospects heading into the Christmas season.
“New challenges have emerged this year, with currency moves and general uncertainty providing plenty for retailers to think about, so to discover that the industry expects a positive result in this important period is great news.”