British Retail Consortium: better news for food sales this August with a clear improvement compared with July

  • UK retail sales decreased 1.0% on a like-for-like basis from August 2014, when they had increased 1.3% on the preceding year. On a total basis, sales were up 0.1%, against a 2.7% rise in August 2014.
  • In the three months to August, total Food sales were up 0.3%. The twelve-month average total Food growth turned positive for the first time since August 2014. Non-Food sales declined in August, for the first time since August 2014.
  • The fall of the Bank Holiday into the September period this year distorted the figures of the back-to-school-sensitive categories. Clothing, Footwear, Stationery, Furniture, Household Appliances experienced declines.
  • Online sales of Non-Food products in the UK grew 6.5% in August versus a year earlier, when they had grown 19.8% and established the 2014 best performance. This was the slowest growth registered since April 2013. The Non-Food online penetration rate was 17.2%, up from 16.3% in August 2014.

LONDON, 2015-9-8 — /EPR Retail News/ — Helen Dickinson, Director General, British Retail Consortium, said: “There was better news for food sales this August with a clear improvement compared with July. This, coupled with a positive twelve month average for the first time since August of last year, suggests there may be cause for optimism for food sales following a prolonged period of stagnation.

“While non-food sales over the last three months are up three per cent overall, they were down in August. However the figures were likely distorted by the fact that they do not include the Bank Holiday which will be accounted for in the September period this year. At this time of the year parents are busily shopping for back-to-school essentials like clothes, footwear and stationery and those sales will peak later this year. Large ticket item categories like furniture and household appliances also experienced a decline in sales, again likely affected by the Bank Holiday distortion.

“Retailers will hope to recoup that sales deficit in September and to start feeling the effect of higher real wages.”

David McCorquodale, Head of Retail, KPMG, said: “As the summer bank holiday fell a week later this year, sales were pushed into September meaning top-line trends for August were inevitably dampened (along with the weather) versus 2014.

“Overall, August sales were down 1% on a like-for-like basis with fashion and footwear hit particularly hard as families delayed back-to-school purchases and wet weather deferred the impetus to shop. Furniture spending also fell due to the timing of the bank holiday.

“The grocers however, fared slightly better, with total food sales showing a positive direction of travel over the three months from June.

“September sales will get a shot in the arm from the bank holiday and the comradery of the Rugby World Cup. However, the fashion world will be hoping that last year’s ‘Indian summer’ does not repeat itself, resulting in heavy discounting to move seasonal items.”

British Retail Consortium, 21 Dartmouth Street, Westminster, London, SW1H 9BP.
020 7854 8900. info@brc.org.uk.