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Paul Martin, UK head of retail at KPMG:

“The resilience of British retailers has been nothing shy of remarkable in recent months, with 6.1% like-for-like growth in September serving to reinforce that.

“That said, this month’s uptick is against the woeful performance recorded in September 2019 and so caution remains vital. Last year, the prospect of a no-deal Brexit loomed over purchasing decisions dampening demand, but now that same prospect is accompanied by the recent resurgence of COVID-19 numbers. Combined, these factors could have a significant impact on retail growth over the next months.

“Looking at the performance of specific retail categories, it’s clear that ‘Back to School’ activity gave fashion and footwear retailers a much-needed boost from lacklustre performance. Elsewhere though the focus remains on home-related items, including household appliances, furniture and technology. Online sales have eased slightly, but it’s clear that the convenience of the channel is so well engrained into the consumer’s psyche now and is therefore here to stay.

“As we enter the all-important ‘golden quarter’ – when many retailers make the majority of their annual revenue – the fight for survival couldn’t be more intense. Close attention has to be paid to how players choose to tackle key events, like Black Friday, within a consumer landscape that has changed entirely.”   

For further information, view the results of the full BRC-KPMG Retail Sales Monitor Septmeber.