Continuing with the dynamics of last year, the retail industry closed again with positive figures, and it has even grown slightly after the bad results in the recession years. This upturn is maintained thanks to the confidence of consumers and the improvement of the employment levels.

In general, 2017 was a good year, November and December being the months that ushered in the increase in sales.

At the national level, in the last month of 2017 retail sales experienced a rebound of 1.5% with regard to the same month of 2016, with a rate 1.7 points lower than that of November. With this advance, retail sales in December chained two consecutive months of year-on-year increases.

The big chains were the ones that sold the most, with an increase of 3.1% in relation to the preceding year, whereas the large shopping centres also improved their turnover by 1.6%. This denomination includes: supermarket chains, hypermarkets, textile brands, electronics, toys, household goods, etc.

The small chains were the ones which turnover worsened, with a reduction of 0.8%. On the other hand, supermarkets, hypermarkets and grocery shops and establishments improved their numbers, because, according to the INE, food sales grew by 2.1%.

There are 106 shopping centres in Andalusia, 24 of them in the province of Malaga, 23% of the total shopping centres in the region. The sales data for these outlets in 2017 show that there was an improvement compared to the preceding year. The year ended with positive figures and a rise of 4.3%, and due to this employment also experimented a growth.

In 2017, the number of retail stores in the province of Malaga amounted to 30,000, 21% of all stores in Andalusia (147,886). The main activities included food, textiles, footwear and household goods.

In the last quarter of the year, a total of 21,299 contracts were registered in the sector. This shows a growth of 3.98% compared to the preceding year.

When it comes to marketing channels and tools, quality of service and product differentiation are the main sales pitch for entrepreneurs in the sector. Looking for this differentiation, the adaptation to new technologies begins to be evident with positive figures.

Digital commerce

As a result of the economic crisis, new ways of selling had to be found, the most relevant being online commerce. The recession encouraged SMEs to open online stores, and after a few years, they saw there sales increased. Digital commerce has now a significant weight in the sector, bing a very important channel in which online sales have increased in 2017, thanks, in part, to the growing implementation of Cloud Computing solutions, which were merely being introduced last year, and are already a reality this year. Fashion, accessories and groceries’ SMEs are the most in favour of including e-commerce in their businesses.

Finally, it should be noted that one of the main problems in the sector so far has been the scarcity of financial resources, where access to credit continues to be difficult, even though things are slowly improving.