Few tills ringing for retailers in December, according to ONS

Few tills ringing for retailers in December

KPMG comments on ONS retail figures for December 2016.

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Commenting on ONS retail figures for December 2016 out today, Paul Martin, UK head of retail at KPMG, said:  

“Despite a slew of positive financial reporting from retailers over the past couple of weeks, ONS retail figures out today suggest December was actually a bit of a bah-humbug on the high-street. Overall sales fell 1.9% versus November 2016 – the biggest dip in monthly sales since April 2012. However, compared to December 2015 sales actually increased 4.3% which suggests the month wasn’t all ‘doom and gloom’.  

“Nevertheless, it seems Black Friday continues to cannibalise festive spending as figures suggest consumers took advantage of deeper discounts at the end of November to make Christmas purchases earlier. 

“Etailers too saw a decline versus November with sales down 5.3%, though online as a percentage of total sales continues to increase overall.  With average store prices starting to rise, particularly at the petrol pumps, this means as more and more sales move online, retailers are going to start to experience an increase in the cost of fulfilment.  

“In contrast, there was a sprinkling of festive cheer for small retailers with sales up 17.4% compared to December 2015. According to the ONS, butchers benefitted from the festive period as consumers chose locally sourced meats and poultry to beef up festive feasts.   

“However, with inflationary pressures on the horizon, coupled with continued foreign exchange fluctuations, we could well see more significant price increases over the course of 2017 which in turn could lead to further declining sales across the board.”

Ends

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Jess Liebmann, KPMG Corporate Communications

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Email: jessica.liebmann@kpmg.co.uk

KPMG Press Office

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About KPMG

KPMG LLP, a UK limited liability partnership, operates from 22 offices across the UK with approximately 13,500 partners and staff.  The UK firm recorded a revenue of £2.07 billion in the year ended 30 September 2016. KPMG is a global network of professional firms providing Audit, Tax, and Advisory services. It operates in 152 countries and has 189,000 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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