UK Retail Sales See Marginal Growth In February: BRC-KPMG
Retail sales in the UK saw a marginal growth of 0.1% in February 2020 compared to a 3.2% increase in the same period last year, the latest BRC–KPMG Retail Sales Monitor has revealed.
On a like-for-like basis, retail sales decreased by 0.4% in this period compared to a 2.6% increase in February 2019.
Helen Dickinson OBE, chief executive of the British Retail Consortium, said that the reported rise in consumer confidence in the UK failed to translate into higher retail sales.
“However, the end of the month saw a slight rise in spending on food and healthcare as a result of concerns around coronavirus,” she added.
In the three months to February, the total in-store sales of non-food items declined 1.8%, while like-for-like sales dropped by 1.9%.
This is better than the 12-month total average decline of 3.1% but positively distorted by the inclusion of Black Friday in December, the report said.
The sales of food items increased 0.3% on a like-for-like basis and 1.0% on a total basis, in this period, below the 12-month total average growth of 1.2%.
Commenting on the performance of the food and drinks sector, IGD CEO, Susan Barratt, said, “After a decidedly lacklustre start to 2020, food and grocery sales in February saw a clear uptick from January with an increase in like-for-like and total growth.
“Things like the timing of Valentine’s Day on a Friday certainly played a role in the middle of the month.”
The online sales of non-food products increased by 3.6% in February, compared to a growth of 5.4% in the same period last year.
The non-food online penetration rate increased to 31.1% in the four weeks to 29 February from 29.1% in February 2019.
Paul Martin, UK head of retail at KPMG, commented, “February saw the UK get hit by one storm after another, so it’s unsurprising that online fared fractionally better than the high street. Generally, though, demand for non-food items remains woefully low.”
Martin added that the coming weeks would be crucial for retailers as they hope for stability and certainty in the upcoming budget.
“Business rates will be front of mind for many, but it remains to be seen whether any form of relief will be offered. Even then, that relief could be too little too late for some of those struggling,” he explained.
Dickinson commented, “In tomorrow’s (11 March) Budget we hope the Government will take the opportunity to relieve the business rates burden bearing down on the shoulders of the industry.”
© 2020 European Supermarket Magazine – your source for the latest retail news. Article by Dayeeta Das. Click subscribe to sign up to ESM: European Supermarket Magazine.