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Paul Martin, UK Head of Retail at KPMG, said: 

“October provided a modest boost for the high street as total retail sales grew by 1.3% compared to last year. 

Clothing, health and beauty sales continued to dominate at the tills, whilst demand for home-related purchases continued to decline further. Grocers had another poor month with food and drink sales muted at 0.27%.

Confident consumers are heading to physical stores to make purchases, causing online sales to fall yet again in October. Through at 42%, online shopping remains significantly higher than pre-Covid-19 levels.

“The much-reported squeeze on household spending has yet to materialise as consumers seem happy to carry on shopping. Limited availability of stock has created strong pricing dynamics, so we are unlikely to see any big discounting this Christmas. Retailers will be hoping consumers are willing to buy the most sought-after gifts at any price.

With rising costs putting a strain on most retailers, they will be hoping that demand remains strong as consumers plan for a bumper Christmas. If people start shopping early for those much-wanted gifts and spend more than last year when Christmas gatherings were cancelled, the main concern for retailers will be how trade will develop post-Christmas into 2022.“

Look back at September's BRC-KPMG Retail Sales Monitor: