“Although year on year overall retail sales for October showed a positive, if small, increase, sales were actually down compared to the previous month. No doubt the milder weather will have influenced buying behaviours with many putting off winter purchases until the cold snap hits. Consumers are also likely holding out for the Black Friday blow out at the end of November to bag a bargain.
"With consumers still hooked on their diet of discounts, retailers in some segments are continuing to feel pricing pressures. Despite consumers buying more goods, deflationary pressure has meant that the amount spent has declined highlighting the persistent impact of discounting on the bottom line.
“Elsewhere, the online channel had a positive month with penetration rates on the up. With arguably the most important e-commerce days of the year approaching, online retailers need to make sure they are at the top of their game. This not only means ensuring that websites are fully operational, but also that supply chain and fulfilment operations need to be performing to the highest levels.
“Black Friday next week will be the first, and potentially hardest test of these systems. Retailers need to make sure all systems for sales and handling returns are reliable or risk a frosty reception from customers.”
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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.