BRC – KPMG Retail Sales Monitor December 2016 | KPMG | UK
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BRC – KPMG Retail Sales Monitor December 2016

BRC – KPMG Retail Sales Monitor December 2016

Strong finish to a roller-coaster year.


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Covering the five weeks 27 November – 31 December 2016

  • UK retail sales increased by 1.0% on a like-for-like basis from December 2015, when they had increased 0.1% from the preceding year.
  • On a total basis, sales rose 1.7%, against a 1.0% increase in December 2015. This is in line with the 3-month average of 1.8% but faster than the 12-month average of 1.2%.
  • Over the three-months to December, Food sales increased 1.1% on a like-for-like basis and 2.4% on a total basis, clearly ahead of the 12-month Total average growth of 1.0%. This is the highest 3-month average Total growth since September 2013.
  • Over the three-months to December, Non-Food retail sales in the UK rose 1.1% on a like-for-like basis and 1.3% on a total basis. This is in line with the 12-month Total average growth of 1.3%. This is the lowest Non-Food 12-month average Total growth since October 2012.
  • Over the three-months to December, Online sales grew 7.2% while In-store sales declined 1.2% on a Total basis and 1.4% on a like-for-like basis.

Helen Dickinson OBE, Chief Executive, British Retail Consortium:

“December is the most important trading period of the year and with sales across 2016 growing more slowly than the previous year, it was all to play for in the final month. Despite the slow start to the Christmas trading period, the week itself was a bumper one and exceeded expectations. It delivered the majority of sales growth for the month, proving even bigger than the Black Friday period- which is the reverse of what we saw the year before.

“It was a polarised month as shoppers held out for the Christmas week, which saw sales up around 40 per cent compared with the other weeks of the month. Food sales were the major contributor to total growth, while non-food sales on the other hand were sluggish overall, despite a strong performance by categories driven by gifting items. 

“In the end, total growth for 2016 was 1. 2 per cent; a marginal increase in pound terms over the previous year but lower than the year-on-year growth achieved in 2015. The challenge for retailers in 2017 will be to create real growth against a backdrop of growing inflationary pressures and persisting economic and political uncertainty.  To this end we’ll be continuing our work with Government to encourage policies that help retailers keep prices down for consumers.”

Paul Martin, UK Head of Retail, KPMG:

“December ended on somewhat of a positive note for retailers, with like-for-like sales rising by 1 per cent on the previous year. Retailers were helped by the timing of Christmas, which fell on a Sunday, giving shoppers the chance to use the weekend for a final dash to the shops delivering a last minute boost to sales.

“Festive feasts were clearly at the forefront of shoppers’ minds, with the 3-month average of like-for-like food sales jumping up by 1.1 per cent: a mean feat considering the stagnation noted the previous month. With price increases looming on the horizon, consumers fully embraced the festive spirit and splashed out on treating themselves.

“Christmas stars were home accessories, beauty products and toys which flew off the shelves, encouraged by promotions that in many cases ran throughout the month.

“With major retailers outlining their interim reports in the coming weeks, all eyes will be on whether retailers have thrived, survived or those who are running out of steam in this increasingly challenging environment.” 

Joanne Denney-Finch, Chief Executive, IGD

“The grocery year ended on a high, with a substantial sales increase versus December 2015. Shoppers took their Christmas food and drink spending even closer to the wire than usual, with a record-breaking week leading up to the 25th. This sealed a strong second half of the year for food retailers.

“Looking ahead, eyes are on the possible return of food inflation, with three-quarters (76 per cent) of shoppers anticipating higher prices in 2017. A surge in patriotism could be another important factor, with 45 per cent believing it’s more important to buy British-produced food now the UK has voted to leave the EU.”


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 weightings derived from the ONS Family Spending survey) 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 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. 

For media enquiries, please contact:

British Retail Consortium

2 London Bridge London SE1 9RA

T: 020 7854 8900

Zoe Maddison

T: 0207 854 8924  



15 Canada Square London E14 5GL

T: 020 7311 1000

Simon Wilson 

T: 0207 311 665

1M: 07785 373 397


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.


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.

Food data supplied by IGD makes a difference by providing international market intelligence, supply chain best practice and consumer insight to the food and grocery industry worldwide. We work with consumers, companies and individuals across the chain to provide authoritative information, insight, thought leadership and leading edge best practice to help companies grow their business and develop their people.Detailed weekly data by category is available to retailers who contribute to the monitor:

If you would like to participate in the Retail Sales Monitor, please contact:

Anne Alexandre 

T: 0207 854 8960


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