BRC – KPMG Sales Monitor: September retail sales up 6.1%

BRC - KPMG Sales Monitor: “Resilience of British retailers has been nothing shy of remarkable”
Retail sales rose almost 6% on a decline of 0.6% from September 2019.
// “Resilience of British retailers has been nothing shy of remarkable” says KPMG head of retail
// Decline in in-store, non-food sales softened to 12.3%
// Online non-food sales increased 36.7% year-on-year

“The resilience of British retailers has been nothing shy of remarkable in recent months,” said KPMG head of retail on the back of the latest Sales Monitor figures.

Covering the five weeks from August 30 to October 3, the BRC – KPMG results found sales were up 5.6 per cent in September on a total basis, against a decline of 0.6 per cent for the same time the year before.

Retail sales increased 6.1 per cent on a like-for-like basis from September 2019, when they had decreased 1.3 per cent from the preceding year.

READ MORE: British Land reports “encouraging” September rent collections

The Monitor found this was above the six-month average decline of 1.1 per cent and the 12 month average decline of 1 per cent, resulting in the best growth since December 2009, excluding Easter distortions.

The Sales Monitor noted that it has replaced three month averages with six month averages to provide a picture of how retailer fared over the pandemic.

Across the three months to September, in-store non-food sales declined 12.3 per cent in total and 9.5 per cent on a like-for-like basis.

This fared better than the six month and 12 month total average declines of 29.6 per cent and 18.8 per cent respectively.

Meanwhile food sales rose 5.1 per cent on a like-for-like basis and 5.6 per cent on a total basis, up from the 12 month total average growth of 3.8 per cent.

In-keeping with the larger shift to online shopping as a whole seen during lockdown, online non-food sales increased 36.7 per cent in September, against a growth of 3.5 per cent for the same time last year, well above the 12 month average growth of 26.3 per cent, but slowing from the three month average growth of 39.7 per cent.

“September saw a big improvement in retail sales growth, however sales over the last six months are still down on the previous year,” BRC chief executive Helen Dickinson said.

“Tighter coronavirus restrictions have continued to hold back clothing and footwear, particularly as the Government further restricts social events. With office workers still at home for foreseeable future, the sales of electronics, household goods and home office products have remained high,” Dickinson added.

“The resilience of British retailers has been nothing shy of remarkable in recent months, with 6.1 per cent like-for-like growth in September serving to reinforce that,” KPMG head of retail Paul Martin said.

“That said, this month’s uptick is against the woeful performance recorded in September 2019 and so caution remains vital. Last year, the prospect of a no-deal Brexit loomed over purchasing decisions dampening demand, 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,” Martin added.

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