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Industry News

Published on October 13th, 2020 | by The GC Team


Retail sales growth signals Christmas shopping has begun

Indications that consumers have started shopping early for Christmas this year appear to have helped lift September retail sales, with sales of electronics, household goods – including home appliances – and office products also contributing to the mix as many consumers continue to work from home.

Retail sales increased by 5.6% on a total basis during the month – the best growth recorded since December 2009 (excluding Easter distortions) – with like-for-like figures up 6.1%.

Helen Dickinson, Chief Executive of the British Retail Consortium, said the numbers were a “big improvement” but sales over the last six months are still down on the previous year, with store-based sales, excluding food, still in double-digit decline.

This is borne out by an increase of 36.7% online Non-Food sales and a year-on-year rise in the penetration rate from 30.8% in September 2019 to 40.1% this year.

Over the three-months to September, total Non-Food retail sales increased by 3.2%, while in-store sales of Non-Food items declined 12.3%.

Paul Martin, UK Head of Retail at KPMG, said: “The resilience of British retailers has been nothing shy of remarkable in recent months, with 6.1% like-for-like growth in September serving to reinforce that. That said, this month’s uptick is against the woeful performance recorded in September 2019 and so caution remains vital.”

Martin added that the prospect of a no-deal Brexit loomed over purchasing decisions and dampened demand last year, but now that same prospect is accompanied by the recent resurgence of COVID-19 numbers.

“Combined, these factors could have a significant impact on retail growth over the next months,” he said.

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