Retail sales boosted by early Christmas shopping

Retail sales picked up in October as consumers started their Christmas shopping early, yet electrical sales were held back by global logistical issues and microchip shortages.

The Retail Sales Monitor from the British Retail Consortium (BRC) and KPMG showed that retail sales rose by 1.3 per cent in October from the same month a year ago, an improvement on the 0.6 per cent increase seen in September this year.

Over the three months to October, Total Non-Food retail sales increased by 1.8 per cent; encouragingly in the same period, Total In-Store sales of Non-Food items grew 7.9 per cent.

“Customer demand is getting back on track ahead of Christmas – according to Helen Dickinson, Chief Executive of the BRC. “Sales grew at a faster rate than the month prior, and well above its pre-pandemic levels.”

“Retailers are doing everything they can to offer customers the choice and availability required throughout the industry’s busiest period, hopeful that demand will continue right through the golden quarter.”

Paul Martin, UK Head of Retail at KPMG, added that confident consumers are heading to physical stores to make purchases, as online sales fell yet again in October, although with penetration rates at 42 per cent, online shopping remains significantly higher than pre-Covid-19 levels.

“The much reported squeeze on household spending has yet to materialise as consumers seem happy to carry on shopping. Limited availability of stock has created strong pricing dynamics, which means we are unlikely to see any big discounting this Christmas, and many retailers will be hoping consumers are willing to buy the most sought after gifts at any price.”