Retail sales climb in September


UK retail sales rose by 2.6% on a like-for-like basis in September compared to the same month last year. On a total basis, sales were up 3.9%.

According to the figures released by the British Retail Corporation and KPMG in their monthly shop price index, this was the fastest growth since January 2014.

However, the BRC warned that the sales growth was likely to be overstated as this year’s later August Bank Holiday shifted back-to-school sales into September. The month’s figures were also flattered by a soft comparable period last year.

Meanwhile, total food sales grew by 0.2% over the three months to September as trade was boosted by the Rugby World Cup.

Helen Dickinson, BRC director general, said: “Food had, in real terms, its highest twelve month average sales since February of 2011, which is particularly positive news following a prolonged period of decline. Retailers are seeing some improved consumer demand but they continue to operate in a very competitive environment. They are looking to Government to lighten the excessive tax burden they face.”

On a three month basis, total non-food sales were up 3.7%, ahead of their 12-month average of 3.3%, Furniture was September’s top performing category, with the highest sales seen since April of 2014. Footwear, the second best performing category, had its best performance since March last year.

David McCorquodale, head of retail at KPMG, said: “Fashion sales were given a particular boost in September with more autumnal weather encouraging shoppers to check out the new season ranges and last minute back-to-school purchases lifting sales of children’s clothes and shoes.”

Online sales of non-food products grew 14.2% in September versus a year earlier, when they had grown 8.2%. The non-food online penetration rate was 17.7%, up from 17.2% in September 2014

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