Helen Dickinson, Director General, British Retail Consortium, said: "November’s retail sales demonstrate continued growth in sales across the board compared to last month. The huge demand for bargain TV’s and other household appliances on Black Friday, whether for personal use or as presents meant that electricals were the stand out category in terms of sales growth. However retailers also took advantage of the increased footfall generated by Black Friday to sell clothing, effectively bringing forward the start of Christmas sales reductions of autumn/ winter stock.
"That being said, customers also bought full priced items and showed interest in premium ranges particularly in food and retailers who didn’t discount for Black Friday also saw increased sales. These are encouraging signs in the run up to Christmas when consumers will likely want to push the boat out even more."
David McCorquodale, Head of Retail, KPMG, said: "Consumers were reluctant to spend too much, too soon until a record breaking Black Friday helped to kick start festive spending. Fashion and footwear retailers used this occasion to recover some lost ground but at a cost to their margin. Sales of electrical goods were strong all month and positively rocketed with Black Friday offers.
"Sadly some retailers fell short of the mark, with websites crashing under the pressure of shoppers hunting for a bargain. Resolving these issues must be a priority: consumers go online to avoid queues, not join them.
"Glimmers of hope were seen in the grocery sector and the sales decline was less sharp than in previous months. While it won’t be a bumper Christmas for this segment, grocers will hope their sales will be on a par with last year.
"After years of slow growth this Christmas could be a cracker for the retail sector, with sales surpassing last year’s levels. Online sales will be launched as early as Christmas Day and shoppers will be able to pick up a bargain while tucking into their turkey."
Food & Drink sector performance – Joanne Denney-Finch, Chief Executive, IGD, said: "Supermarkets played a big role in Black Friday and while this was mainly about non-food deals, it did give a small boost to grocery sales by encouraging more visits to stores.
"Overall, the squeeze on sales continued through November but this was primarily due to falling retail prices supported by lower fuel and a drop in some food commodity prices. The number of items sold (i.e. sales volume) will have been quite similar to last year.
"This bodes reasonably well for the Christmas trading period and our ShopperVista research finds three out of ten shoppers say they’re more likely to treat themselves or their family this Christmas than last."
- ENDS -
Notes to Editor
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 (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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The December 2014 Monitor, covering the five weeks 30 November – 3 January, will be released at 00.01am Tuesday 13 January 2015.
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.
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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.