BRC-KPMG Retail Sales Monitor August 2014

BRC-KPMG Retail Sales Monitor August 2014

Back to school sales and the changing of the season saw fashion retailers put in a strong performance in August. Overall, it has been a very successful summer for non-food retailers, placing them on a firm footing for the autumn/winter trading period and the run up to Christmas.

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  • UK retail sales were up 1.3% on a like-for-like basis from August 2013, when they had increased 1.8% on the preceding year. On a total basis, sales were up 2.7%, against a 3.6% rise in August 2013. This is the best performance since January, excluding Easter distortions.
  • Growth was driven by Clothing & Footwear, which reported its fastest rate since December 2011. Meanwhile, Food was the worst performing category with a new record low three-month average decline.
  • Over the last three months, Food showed a decline of 1.6%, in contrast of 0.1% growth experienced over the last twelve months. Non-Food reported growth of 3.9% over the three months to August 2014, in line with its twelve-month average.
  • Online sales of non-food products in the UK grew 19.8% in August versus a year earlier, the highest online growth on record. The Non-Food online penetration rate was 16.5% in August, 1.7 percentage point higher than in August 2013.

Helen Dickinson, Director General, British Retail Consortium, said: "August has recorded the strongest growth in retail sales since January this year, excluding Easter distortions, accelerating to 2.7 per cent. This was driven in the main by the best growth of clothing and footwear since December 2011, indicating a higher level of consumer confidence in the economy. Retailers have pointed to the successful launch of their autumn fashion collections helped by the cooler weather, as well as a good response to marketing campaigns for back to school clothing. Furniture sales also did well as the strength of the housing market continues although not as well as in July.

"On the other hand consumers are still taking advantage of record low food inflation. The strength of the economy is not yet consistent across all areas of the country and shop prices fell in August. For retailers the challenge in these circumstances is to ensure continued investment in digital innovation, the physical retail space and job creation. For our part the BRC continues to engage with all the Parties to look at fundamental reform of the business rates system in order to ease the costs of doing business to support the industry’s ability to serve its customers better and respond to transformational change."

David McCorquodale, Head of Retail, KPMG, said: "Back to school sales and the changing of the season saw fashion retailers put in a strong performance in August. Overall, it has been a very successful summer for non-food retailers, placing them on a firm footing for the autumn/winter trading period and the run up to Christmas.

"However, not all sectors are seeing their sales grow. The food sector remains in a state of disruption with the share of the 'big four' being challenged on many fronts after a 15 year reign. The like for like decline shows the battle is being fought via the prices on the shelves, but the war may be won by those grocers best able to adhere to brand values to retain customer loyalty.

"With autumn drawing in, the countdown to Christmas has now begun. This will be a true bellwether of consumer confidence. If shoppers feel secure enough in the future to spend, then retailers could be in for an enjoyable Christmas this year."

Food & Drink sector performance – Joanne Denney-Finch, Chief Executive, IGD, said: "Although August food and drink sales were at least up on July, retailers are still contending with three well established trends.

"Food inflation is extremely low, more people are eating out and shoppers are visiting more food stores to pick the best value from each.

"Our ShopperVista research shows that 47 per cent of shoppers say they’ve recently visited two or more grocery stores on the same trip, up from 42 per cent last year. Also, 58 per cent told us they often change their meal plans to fit what’s on promotion."


- ENDS -


Notes to Editors:

The BRC-KPMG Retail Sales Monitor measures changes in the actual value (including VAT) of 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 sales for the current period and the equivalent period a year ago. These figures are reported both in total and on a ‘like-for-like’ basis.

Total sales growth is the percentage change in the value of all sales compared to the same period a year earlier. The total sales measure is used to assess market level trends in retail sales. It is a guide to the growth of the whole retail industry, or how much consumers in total are spending in retail – retail spending represents approximately one-third of consumer spending. It is this measure that is often used by economists. Many retailers include distance sales as a component of total sales.

'Like-for-like' sales growth (LFL) is the percentage change in the value of comparable sales compared to the same period a year earlier. It excludes any spending in stores that opened or closed in the intervening year, thus stripping out the effect on sales of changes in floorspace. Many retailers include distance sales as a component of like-for-like comparable sales.

The like-for-like measure is often used by retailers, the city and analysts to assess the performance of individual companies, retail sectors and the industry overall, without the distorting effect of changes in floorspace.

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 these non-store channels. It should be noted that online sales are still a small proportion of total UK retail sales. Estimates based on ONS figures show about 10 per cent of total UK retail sales (food and non-food) are achieved via the internet.

The responses provided by retailers within each sales category are weighted*(based on ONS weightings) to reflect the contribution of each category to total retail sales, thus making it representative of UK retail sales as a whole. 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.

As well as receiving sales value direct from the retailers in the scheme the BRC-KPMG Retail Sales Monitor also receives food and drink sales value data from the IGD's Market Track Scheme.

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 of data for the weighted ‘online’ figures 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 KPMG 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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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 and collated 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.

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IGD makes a difference by providing international market intelligence, supply chain best practice and consumer insight to the food and grocery industry worldwide.

We work with consumers, companies and individuals across the chain to provide authoritative information, insight, thought leadership and leading edge best practice to help companies grow their business and develop their people.

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:

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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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