September Sales: Best Since January 2014

September Sales: Best Since January 2014

Sales growth was boosted by the August Bank Holiday, which fell in this period as opposed to August last year.

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  • UK retail sales increased 2.6% on a like-for-like basis from September 2014, when they had decreased 2.1% on the preceding year. On a total basis, sales were up 3.9%, against a 0.8% fall in September 2014. This is the fastest growth since January 2014, excluding Easter distortions. Adjusted for the BRC-Nielsen Shop Price Index deflation, total growth was 5.8%.  
  • The inclusion of the Bank Holiday into the September period positively distorted the figures of the back-to- school-sensitive categories, particularly the fashion and home categories. September’s figures were also flattered by a soft comparable period last year. 
  • Total Food sales grew 0.2% over the 3 months to September, in line with their twelve-month average, which reported its best performance since July 2014. On a 3-month basis, total Non-Food sales were up 3.7%, ahead of their 12-month average of 3.3%. 
  • Online sales of Non-Food products in the UK grew 14.2% in September versus a year earlier, when they had grown 8.2%. The Non-Food online penetration rate was 17.7%, up from 17.2% in September 2014. 

Helen Dickinson, Chief Executive Officer, British Retail Consortium, said: “September was a bright month for retail, with the strongest sales performance since January of last year, excluding Easter distortions. However, sales growth was boosted by the August Bank Holiday, which fell in this period as opposed to August last year, shifting back-to-school sales into September, so such strong growth is likely to be overstated. September’s figures were also flattered by a soft comparable period last year, which was the worst performance of 2014. The three month average growth for non-food was 3.7 per cent, ahead of the 3.3 per cent twelve month average. Furniture was September’s top performing category, with the highest sales seen since April of 2014. Footwear, the second best performing category, had its best performance since March of last year.

“There was good news for food sales too, thanks in no small part to the Rugby World Cup. Food had, in real terms, its highest twelve month average sales since February of 2011, which is particularly positive news following a prolonged period of decline. Retailers are seeing some improved consumer demand but they continue to operate in a very competitive environment. They are looking to Government to lighten the excessive tax burden they face.” 

David McCorquodale, Head of Retail, KPMG, said: “With the summer bank holiday falling into September, top line trends for the month were inevitably inflated with total sales up 3.9 per cent compared to 2014. However, taking the 3 months July to September, total sales across all categories also showed a bounce back, up 2.2 per cent in the period suggesting a stronger finish to the British summer overall.

“Fashion sales were given a particular boost in September with more autumnal weather encouraging shoppers to check out the new season ranges and last minute back-to-school purchases lifting sales of children’s clothes and shoes. Home and furniture also benefited from the bank holiday timing as consumers took the opportunity to fit in a bit of redecorating.

“Despite the start of the Rugby World Cup encouraging people to get the beers and burgers in, food and drink sales showed no signs of accelerating in the three months July to September. Grocers will be hoping that consumers will continue to revel in the atmosphere in spite of England’s early exit from the tournament.

“Moving into the final quarter of 2015, retailers will be keeping a watchful eye on Christmas with the launch of festive campaigns starting to wet consumers’ appetites and Black Friday expected to be big again.”

Food & Drink sector performance – Joanne Denney-Finch, Chief Executive, IGD, said: “In recent months food and drink sales have tended to vary a little above or a little below last year’s figure, and September’s performance was almost flat. However, this disguises a huge amount of change taking place. The UKgrocery market continues to provide shoppers with more options, including food to go, online, discount and convenience shopping. The major players are also investing in revitalising their stores. The result is three quarters of grocery shoppers are very satisfied with their overall experience; 57 per cent say they like shopping for food, up from 43 per cent seven years ago.”

 

- 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 (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 October 2015 Monitor, covering the four weeks 4 October – 31 October, will be released at 00.01am Tuesday 10 November 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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Sponsored and Administered by KPMG LLP, a UK limited liability partnership, operates from 22 offices across the UK with approximately 12,000 partners and staff. The UK firm recorded a turnover of £1.9 billion in the year ended September 2014. KPMG is a global network of professional firms providing Audit, Tax, and Advisory services. It operates in 155 countries and has 162,000 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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