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Published on June 7th, 2016 | by The GC Team

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Retail sales return to growth

Like-for-like retail sales edged up slightly in May following the sharpest fall in eight months during April.

The BRC-KPMG retail sales monitor showed like-for-likes up 0.5%, with total sales, which have been flat for two months, recording growth of 1.4%.

“While still not spectacular, it is in line with the 12-month average of 1.5%,” said Helen Dickinson OBE, Chief Executive of the British Retail Consortium.

As the contribution from stores was negative during May, online sales took more than their proportionate share of overall non-food growth, which rose 13.7% on last year to account for 21.2% of retail sales, the third highest penetration rate ever recorded, after Black Friday in November and the January sales. Positive growth was recorded in all categories.

Dickinson said that the pickup in sales will come as a welcome relief, but it’s still a challenging time for retailers. “Shop price deflation continues and intensity of competition is fierce. Controlling costs and improving efficiency and productivity will be crucial for retailers as they continue to navigate increasingly tough trading conditions.”

Signs of a slowing UK economy mean it’s unlikely that the sales growth in May is the beginning of a complete reversal of fortunes, the BRC chief said. “The uncertain outlook means that customers will remain cautious with their spending. Therefore, we expect sales figures to remain volatile for the time being.”

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