BRC-KPMG Online Retail Sales Monitor April 2015

BRC-KPMG Online Retail Sales Monitor April 2015

Retail sales saw the best online growth in six months in the UK in April.

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  • Online sales of Non-Food products in the UK grew 15.4% in April versus a year earlier, when it had risen by 11.2% over the previous year. This month’s growth is the best since October 2014 and is ahead of the 3-month and 12-month averages of 12.0% and 12.5%, respectively. In April 2015, online sales represented 17.6% of total Non-Food sales, against 15.9% in April 2014.
  • The fashion categories achieved record performances: Footwear achieved its best performance since December 2012, while Clothing grew at its fastest rate since our records began.
  • Online sales contributed 2.3 percentage points to the growth of Non-Food total sales in April, its greatest contribution since December 2013. The 3-month average contribution of online to Non-Food growth was almost equal to that of stores.

Helen Dickinson, Director General, British Retail Consortium, said: "This is the best online growth since October, which brings the three-month average roughly in line with the twelve-month average of 12.5 per cent. Considering that almost one pound in every five is spent online for Non-Food goods, the growth figure is testament to the great British online retail offering. Indeed April recorded the highest contribution to overall growth of Non-Food since December 2013.

"Fashion and beauty performed particularly strongly, with three of those categories – Clothing, Footwear and Health & Beauty – achieving their best online growth for over two years, while stores also displayed healthy sales increases for those products.

"Retailers will welcome this result achieved without significantly higher promotional activities".

David McCorquodale, Head of Retail, KPMG, said: The online channel recovered in April to record its best month for half a year and contributed significantly to retail sales growth. This month’s figures highlight that online sales remain a crucial pillar of retailers’ revenues and an important channel for the consumer.

"With a majority Government now in place, retailers will welcome the stability which allows them to invest with confidence in omnichannel capabilities and adapt to changing consumer demands."


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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The May 2015 Monitor, covering the four weeks 3 May – 30 May, will be released at 00.01am Tuesday 9 June 2015.

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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