BRC-KPMG Online Retail Sales Monitor October 2014 - incentives stimulate online sales in October

BRC-KPMG Online Retail Sales Monitor October 2014...

UK online sales of Non-Food products grew nearly 16% in October versus a year earlier.

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  • Online sales of Non-Food products in the UK grew 15.4% in October versus a year earlier, almost in line with the twelve-month average growth of 14.8%. In October 2013, online sales rose by 12.1% over the previous year.
  • In October online sales represented 18.2% of total Non-Food sales of our Monitor, against 16.5% in October 2013. This is the highest penetration rate since Christmas 2013.
  • In contrast with stores where Clothing and Footwear recorded a decline in October, the fashion categories achieved a good performance online, as a result of targeted incentives by retailers.
  • Online sales contributed 2.1 percentage points to the growth of Non-Food total sales in October. The three-month average contribution of online to non-food growth exceeded that of stores for the second consecutive month, achieving an all-time record proportion outside of December.

Helen Dickinson, Director General, British Retail Consortium, said: "Online sales took their largest slice of the pie of non-food sales growth since December 2013. October’s growth compared to last year was 3.3 percentage points faster, which bodes well for Christmas, especially as the proportion of online non-food sales was also the highest recorded since last Christmas.

"October saw many actions to encourage the sale of winter stock. Concurrent flash sales were run in-store and online. Loyal customers were offered exclusive discounts and due to this Clothing and Footwear did better online than in stores. As we march steadily on to the festive season online retail sales are set to increase, for example online Christmas shops are proving popular. ‘Mega Monday’, the first Monday in December, is one to watch as it is generally thought to be the biggest day for online shopping. However, retailers’ investment in ever-faster deliveries means that Mega Monday could be shifted closer to Christmas this year."

David McCorquodale, Head of Retail, KPMG, said: "Retailers proved themselves fleet of foot online, launching highly targeted offers to offset the unseasonal weather and give consumers that extra impetus to spend.

"It’s evidence that retailers can use their online operations to quickly react to unexpected factors, such as a heat wave at Halloween, and adapt their sales strategy to offer shoppers the products that are relevant to them. This flexibility isn’t a guaranteed failsafe, but it certainly gives retailers more options than their store portfolio can offer.

"With Black Friday and Christmas ahead, the online channel’s importance will be felt more than ever in the coming weeks."


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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 (2014). The contents of this report and those of all ancillary documents and preparatory materials are the sole property of BRC and KPMG and are not to be copied, modified, published, distributed or commercially exploited other than with the express permission of BRC or for the purposes of journalistic comment and review. All rights reserved.


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KPMG Press Office: 020 7694 8773


The November 2014 Monitor, covering the four weeks 2 November – 29 November, will be released at 00.01am Tuesday 9 December 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.

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About KPMG

KPMG LLP, a UK limited liability partnership, 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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