Consumer confidence helps to lift August retail sales

Total retail sales in the UK grew by 4.1 per cent in August, according to data from the British Retail Consortium (BRC)-KPMG Retail Sales Monitor. This figure is higher than the three-month average growth of 3.6 per cent.

During this period in-store non-food sales were up 1.3 per cent on a total basis, while online non-food sales fell by 1.7 per cent – versus a decline of 6.1 per cent in the same period a year ago.

Talking of online, sales growth in household appliances was down last month but still fared better than in July when it was one of the worst performing categories online that month.

And the sector also had a negative contribution to the total overall sales growth in the UK in August, the BRC-KPMG data showed.

However, taking a more general view of the retail market, BRC’s Chief Executive, Helen Dickinson, said: “Retail sales in August improved, particularly on July’s poor performance. Sales of non-food products had their best month since February; these figures reflected the improvement in consumer confidence in August and retailers hope this general upward trend will carry on.”

Paul Martin, UK Head of Retail at KPMG, added: “As Summer comes to an end, retailers will have their sights firmly set on the most crucial period of trading as consumers get ready for Christmas. Inflation levels are heading in the right direction, albeit much more slowly than hoped, and savvy shoppers will be Christmas bargain hunting much earlier this year, as price continues to drive decisions and consumers seek out good deals to stretch their budgets.

“Having survived the pandemic and continuing to battle through the cost-of-living crisis, we are already starting to see the resilience of the sector begin to fade and high street casualties are starting to emerge. Maintaining consumer confidence as we head into the golden quarter will be absolutely vital for some in the sector.”