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Retail in general: Q4 brings down annual results


During the final quarter of the year, full year results did not manage to go in the black. On the contrary, the non-food sales saw a decline of -2.8% in Q4, compared to the same period last year. This affects the results for the whole of the year, shrinking the value ever so slightly by 0.4%, compared to 2016. 

While most segments managed to grow, the overall increase was quite limited. Telecom (+4.3%) and Media & Entertainment (+2.7%) are the biggest winners for this period. Some segments did not manage any growth during this most festive of seasons, and therefore bring down the value of the Belgian non-food sales. Fashion (-6.8%), Stationery (-6.8%) and DIY (-3.7%) are having the hardest time maintaining their value. 

Biggest losers during this quarter are the fashion and stationery segments. With a steep decline of 6.8% in both their final quarters, these segments close the year in the red. In Fashion, the total loss is limited to one percent, but Stationery shrinks by 6.2% for the whole of 2017. 

With a decline rate of 0.1%, we can safely say that the Consumer Electronics market has shown a very stable final quarter. Especially the television sales are the cause of this. Generating an increase of 6% in an otherwise plummeting product group, Black Friday promotions have delivered big time! Unfortunately, the status quo in Q4 could not prevent a bigger decline in full year results. CE closes 2017 with a decrease of almost 4%. 

Surprisingly, Q4 accounts for some losses in Small Domestic Appliances too. Whilst the SDA market usually shows good growth figures, the last quarter of the year cannot reach the same value level of last year. Yet, with the decline being limited to 1.7%, the SDA segment had enough margin to be able to close 2017 on a positive note, growing by 2.7% on a year-by-year base. On the other hand, the DIY segment was not strong enough to uphold its growth after a decrease of 3.7% in its last trimester. It closes 2017 with a minor loss of 0.7%. 

The biggest gains during this period are found in Telecom. Due to the release of a few signature smartphone devices, the telecom sector kept its promise of delayed value growth and turned its Q3 decline around to a decent increase of +4.3% in Q4. Furthermore, the Core Wearables category push the value up, thanks to an on-going trend in Health & Fitness trackers. 

Last but not least, the biggest winner of the year must be the Media & Entertainment segment. With an increase of 3.8% year on year, this segment is driven by its gaming categories and it found new ways of growth in the surging online demand for music and films. 

Now that one year ends, another one starts. Let’s keep up the good work and see what 2018 will bring. 

Evelien Van Aerschot – Consultant Retail


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