BRC-KPMG Online Retail Sales Monitor August 2014

BRC-KPMG Online Retail Sales Monitor August 2014

UK retail has seen the best performance in sales since January, excluding Easter distortions.

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  • Online sales of Non-Food products in the UK grew 19.8% in August versus a year earlier, the highest growth ever recorded since the inception of the online monitor in December 2012. In August 2013, online sales rose by 15.0% over the previous year.
  • In August, online sales represented 16.5% of total Non-Food sales of our Monitor, against 14.8% in August 2013. This bodes well for the coming months, as online sales intensify in the run-up to Christmas. 
  • Growth was well spread across all categories, including Furniture, which reached its fastest growth on record in August. 
  • Online sales contributed 1.9 percentage points to the growth of Non-Food total sales in August. 

Helen Dickinson, Director General, British Retail Consortium, said: "August saw the fastest growth in online sales of non-food items since the online monitor started in December 2012. Customers are really responding well to retailers who have worked hard on developing websites that are attractive and provide customers with a fulfilling user experience. This growth has not been consigned to one area with all categories of items seeing healthy online sales. Furniture experienced its second best growth since the monitor’s inception. 

"Parents have been spending a considerable amount online with back-to-school items showing particularly strong online sales. The results show great promise for an increase in online spending, especially with Christmas approaching. As shoppers turn their attention towards Christmas we expect the volume of sales transacted online to accelerate, although we expect them to interact across all channels as part of the shopping journey. Retailers continue to make considerable investment creating quality online shopping experiences and highly-skilled jobs." 

David McCorquodale, Head of Retail, KPMG, said: "The summer has been a good test of retailers’ online capabilities and many have used this to refine their systems before we enter the autumn/winter trading period. The continued growth of online sales reflects these successes. 

"This has been time well spent. Those with a truly seamless multichannel operation will be the winners this Christmas, and those with less than perfect systems will see their flaws exposed as the sheer volume of customer orders will test their operation to the limit." 


The Online BRC-KPMG Retail Sales Monitor measures changes in the actual value (including VAT) of online retail sales, excluding automotive fuel. The Monitor measures the value of spending and hence does not adjust for price or VAT changes. If prices are rising, sales volumes will increase by less than sales values. In times of price deflation, sales volumes will increase by more than sales values. 

Retailers report the value of their online sales for the current period and the equivalent period a year ago. 

Total Non-Food sales growth is the percentage change in the value of all retail sales with the exception of food sales compared to the same period a year earlier. The total Non-Food sales measure is used to assess market level trends in Non-Food retail sales. Non-Food retail spending represents approximately 55% of total retail sales. 

Online (including mail order and phone) sales of Non-Food are transactions which take place over the internet, or via mail order or phone. Online sales growth is the percentage change in the value of online sales compared to those in the same period a year earlier. It is a guide to the growth of sales made by all non-store channels. 

Penetration is the proportion of sales attributed to the online channel (including mail order and phone). Penetrations are calculated category by category as online sales submitted by participating retailers relative to total sales those retailers submit to the BRC-KPMG Retail Sales Monitor. Participants who do not sell online (or through non-store channels) are included but participants who do sell online but do not submit their online sales are excluded. 

The responses provided by retailers within each sales category are weighted* to reflect the contribution of each category to total retail sales, thus making it representative of UK retail sales as a whole. The rates used are derived from the Office of National Statistics Family Spending Survey and revised every year. Because the figures compare sales this month with the comparable period last year, a seasonal adjustment is not made. However, changes in the timing of Bank Holidays and Easter can create distortions, which should be considered in the interpretation of the data. 

In its role as sponsor of the BRC-KPMG Retail Sales Monitor, KPMG is responsible for the aggregation of the retail sales data provided by the retailers on a weekly basis. This data consists of the relevant current week’s sales data and comparative sales figures for the same period in the prior year. The aggregation has been performed by KPMG on data for periods following 2 April 2000 and equivalent prior periods. The accuracy of the data is entirely the responsibility of the retailers providing it. The sponsorship role has been performed by KPMG since 10 April 2000 and the same for the aggregation of comparative sales figures for the period from 2 April 2000 it is not responsible for the aggregation of any data included in this Monitor relating to any period prior to 2 April 2000. 

* The aggregation and weighting of data for the ‘online’ monitor has been performed by the BRC and KPMG for periods starting 25 November 2012 and equivalent prior year periods. Prior to that date, the online figures in this monitor refer to the unweighted Non-Food non store indicator, as published in the BRC-KPMG Retail Sales Monitor until July 2013. 

The commentary from the BRC is intended to be of general interest to readers but is not advice or a recommendation and should not be relied upon without first taking professional advice. Anyone choosing to rely on it does so at his or her own risk. To the fullest extent permitted by law, KPMG will accept no responsibility or liability in connection with its sponsorship of the Monitor and its aggregation work to any party other than the BRC. 

© Copyright British Retail Consortium and KPMG


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KPMG Press Office : 020 7694 8773


The September 2014 Monitor, covering the five weeks 31 August – 4 October, will be released at 00.01am Tuesday 14 October 2014.

The data is collected for the BRC by KPMG

The British Retail Consortium (BRC) is the UK's leading retail trade association. It represents the full range of retailers, large and small, multiples and independents, food and non-food, online and store based.

Sponsored and Administered by

KPMG LLP, a UK limited liability partnership, is a subsidiary of KPMG Europe LLP and operates from 22 offices across the UK with approximately 11,500 partners and staff. The UK firm recorded a turnover of £1.8 billion in the year ended September 2013. KPMG is a global network of professional firms providing Audit, Tax, and Advisory services. It operates in 155 countries and has 155,000 professionals working in member firms around the world. The independent member firms of the KPMG network are affiliated with KPMG International Cooperative ("KPMG International"), a Swiss entity. Each KPMG firm is a legally distinct and separate entity and describes itself as such.

Detailed weekly data by category is available to retailers who contribute to the monitor.

If you would like to participate in the Retail Sales Monitor, please contact:

Anne Alexandre

T: 0207 854 8960


This article represents the views of the author only, and does not necessarily represent the views or professional advice of KPMG in the UK.

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