Retail sales suffer in September
Like-for-like retail sales in the UK edged down 0.2% year-on-year in September as consumers became more constrained in their spending.
The figures from the British Retail Consortium and KPMG in their monthly retail sales monitor reveal that total sales increased by 0.7% compared to a rise of 2.3% in the same month last year.
During the three-month period to September, food sales climbed by 2.3% on a like-for-like basis and by 3.4% on a total basis. However, non-food retail sales in the period fell by 1.6% on a like-for-like basis and by 0.6% on a total basis. Furthermore, in-store sales of non-food items dropped by 2.7% on a total basis and by 4% on a like-for-like basis.
Helen Dickinson, BRC chief executive, said: “These figures lay bare the difficult operating environment for the retail industry. After a challenging August, constrained consumer spending in September has resulted in the weakest sales growth for five months.”
Meanwhile, online sales of non-food items climbed by 5.4% in September to mark the lowest growth since January. This compares to an increase of 10.7% in the same period last year.
Paul Martin, UK head of retail at KPMG, said: “Online retail continued to fare better. Even clothing sales managed to grab the attention of those browsing the web to refresh their wardrobe.
“The final golden quarter of the year marks the ultimate test for many players, but retailers must also successfully navigate: the upcoming government Budget, Black Friday, Christmas, and of course Brexit.”
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