Commenting on today’s ONS retail sales figures, David McCorquodale, UK head of retail at KPMG, said:
"The latest set of figures appear to paint a rosier outlook on retail sales in August, with volumes up 6.2% on the same period last year. However, values fell 0.2% compared to last month as deflation continued unabated.
“As the main contributor to the increase in sales volumes, food sales were the standout performer in August. The Rio Olympics were likely to have put picnics on the menu, while less favourable exchange rates encouraged staycations, also benefiting the grocers.
“August was a disappointing month for fashion retailers. Consumers failed to be inspired by the new collections and the heatwave encouraged shoppers to sunbathe rather than hit the high street. Changing customer behaviour and the lure of alternative attractions such as festivals and leisure experiences, coupled with increased costs, are causing concerns in the fashion segment.
“It’s yet to be seen if the August bank holiday and ‘back to school’ purchases will deliver a further boost for retail sales, as these will fall into next month’s figures. For the grocery sector, it will be interesting to see if momentum can be sustained amidst the ongoing price wars, which continue to benefit consumers at the till.”
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