UK retail sales have been described as ‘encouraging’ having grown ahead of the run-up to Christmas, with October sales up by 2.6 per cent on last year, and 0.8 per cent in the UK alone, according to the UK Retail Consortium.
The figures released by the Consortium this morning, have revealed that a three-month average total growth of 2.8 per cent, close to the 12-month average of 2.7 per cent, with food sales growing by 2 per cent in the last three months, although clothing saw a decline in sales for the first time since March, due to the unseasonable warm weather.
Online sales of non-food products have also grown by 12.1 per cent in the UK during October, with online penetration at 18.3 per cent for the month, the high level recorded by the Consortium.
Helen Dickinson, director general of the British Retail Consortium, said: “It’s encouraging to see growth heading in the right direction again after a disappointing slowdown in September. Much of the improvement was driven by sustained demand for new games and gadgets, and there was also a strong showing for home accessories and textiles. In contrast, clothing sales fell for the first time since March, suggesting that many customers prioritised leisure and home improvements over refreshing their wardrobes until more autumnal conditions took hold.”
She continued: “Consumer confidence paused in October, and while conditions remain challenging, the signs are that customers are managing their budgets well while allowing some leeway for occasional treats. Retailers will be looking to respond to this appetite for good value with a little luxury here and there in their promotions and product offerings for the Christmas period.”
The figures were generated by the Consortium and KPMG’s Retail Sales Monitor, which measures the change in value of retail sales, excluding petrol sales, by measuring the value of spending in comparison with the equivalent period the previous year, on a like-for-like basis.
Sales value is received directly from retailers while information is also received on food and drink sales value data from the IGD's Market Track Scheme.
Marks & Spencer released its half year figures this morning, revealing a sales increase to £4.9bn but a fall in underlying profit.