Retail sales jump in August as online boom offsets struggling high streets

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Retail sales jump in August as online boom offsets struggling high streets
BRC chief executive Helen Dickinson said high levels of home working have continued to drive growth in online sales.
// Total UK retail sales in August increased by 4.7% on a like-for-like basis and 3.9% on a total basis
// In-store sales of non-food items slid by 17.8% while on a like-for-like basis they dropped 8.5%
// Total non-food retail sales increased 7.7% like-for-like basis & 1.4% total basis, boosted by 42.4% online jump

Retail sales jumped higher last month as shoppers spent more money online – but city centre shops have seen their struggles continue, according to new figures.

The latest BRC-KMPG Retail Sales Monitor revealed that total UK retail sales increased by 4.7 per cent on a like-for-like basis and 3.9 per cent on a total basis compared to the same month a year earlier.

BRC chief executive Helen Dickinson said high levels of home working have continued to drive growth in online sales.


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“Despite another month of growth in August, retail sales remain down overall since the start of the pandemic,” she said.

“Remote working has continued to help sales in home goods, such as food, computing, furniture and TVs.

“Meanwhile, city centre retailers continue to be devastated by low footfall and poor sales, as office workers stayed away for yet another month.”

Dickinson added that clothing, footwear and beauty retailers have particularly “struggled” as a result of lower high street footfall.

Over the three months to August, in-store sales of non-food items slid by 17.8 per cent while on a like-for-like basis they dropped 8.5 per cent, according to the data.

However, total non-food retail sales increased by 7.7 per cent on a like-for-like basis and 1.4 per cent on a total basis, as they were buoyed by a significant 42.4 per cent jump in online non-food sales.

“We continue to experience mixed fortunes and not all retailers are where they should be at this point in the year,” KPMG head of UK retail Paul Martin said.

“Fashion sales did start to rebound somewhat – at least online – although this was mainly driven by children’s back-to-school purchases.

“Likewise, the focus on home-related products, including furniture and computing equipment, continued – no doubt aided by many consumers remaining mostly at home.”

Meanwhile, food sales increased by 6.3 per cent over the three months to August on a like-for-like and total basis.

with PA Wires

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