UK Retail's 'Golden Quarter' Off To Bad Start, With 1% Sales Drop
UK retail sales for October decreased by 1% on a like-for-like basis from October 2016, when they increased by 1.7%, compared to the preceding year, according to new figures from the British Retail Consortium (BRC) and KPMG.
This downward trend at the beginning of retailers' ‘golden quarter’, in the run-up to Christmas, was driven by a record decline in non-food sales.
The BRC and KPGM Retail Sales Monitor covering the four weeks of October 2017 revealed that sales declined by 2.1% in the 12 months up to October – the deepest decline since their records began, in 2012.
Last month saw a slight overall sales increase of 0.2% on a total basis – the lowest growth since May. This measures poorly when compared the growth of 2.4% in October 2016.
“It was a meagre month in October for retail sales, as shopping activity slumped," said Helen Dickinson, chief executive of the BRC.
"With total growth at its lowest since May and below the 12-month average, retailers will have cause for concern as they prepare for the crucial run-up to Christmas,” Dickinson continued.
Consumers appear to have opted for outdoor experiences and excursions during half-term, over visits to the shops, according to Dickinson.
Meanwhile, Paul Martin, head of retail at KPMG, said that clothing sales were hit particularly hard, with one of the reasons being unseasonably warm weather last month.
“Despite the positive picture last month, these latest figures will be a real disappointment and not the start to the 'golden quarter' retailers had hoped for,” Martin said.
Joanne Denney-Finch, chief executive at IGD, added that a mood of caution prevails among consumers, saying, “A fifth [20%] say they will focus more on saving money in their food and grocery shopping in the year ahead – the record highest level since September 2016.”
© 2017 European Supermarket Magazine – your source for the latest retail news. Article by Kevin Duggan. Click subscribe to sign up to ESM: The European Supermarket Magazine.