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Industry News

Published on June 5th, 2018 | by The GC Team

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May provides much-needed uplift for UK retail

UK retail sales increased 4.1% in May, despite an “extremely challenging” retail environment, with in-store sales reportedly making a comeback.

In-store non-food sales experienced their best performance since January 2016, excluding Easter distortions, but the three-month trend shows business has been tough, with a decline of 3.0% recorded by the BRC – KPMG Retail Sales Monitor.

On the whole, May saw the highest growth in retail sales since January 2014, recovering some of the ground lost in April, but as Chief-Executive of the British Retail Consortium Helen Dickinson pointed out: “Despite this more positive set of sales results, the retail environment remains extremely challenging, with trend growth still very low by historical standards.”

Paul Martin, Head of Retail at KPMG, said May provided a “much needed uplift” to retail performance. “Two bank holiday weekends, a Royal wedding and of course sunnier spells will have been the main drivers behind the apparent rebound, with both online and high street sales thankfully up overall.”

Online sales of Non-Food products grew 11.9% in May, against comparable growth of 4.3% in May 2017, with the penetration rate increasing to 22.4%.

“While the month’s figures may paint a rosier picture, there is no room for complacency,” cautioned Martin.

“The market is increasingly being split into winners and losers, with a number of legacy players continuing to face extremely challenging conditions. As such, focusing on transforming businesses both operationally and financially is pivotal.”

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