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

“Following a strong November, retail sales continued to grow in December, increasing by just over 2% compared to 2020, although the spread of the Omicron variant and updated Government guidelines slowed spending during the final weeks of the year.

Apparel and jewellery continued to dominate Christmas gift buying at the tills, whilst spending on food and drink was solid, although it slowed to just over 1% increase. 

Consumers continued to head to the high street for their festive gifts, determined to secure the presents they wanted, and not leaving online delivery arrivals to chance. Footwear was the only online category to see mild growth as overall online sales continued to decline, falling by over 8% in December albeit against strong comparators in 2020. 

As we head into 2022, retailers will be keeping close to Government COVID-19 updates and hoping consumer confidence holds up in order to offset the rising cost challenges they are likely to experience for the foreseeable future. 

Retailers have worked hard to manage factors in their control throughout the pandemic to adapt to the changing environment, but there are many macro factors outside of their control that could impact them this year. Top priorities for retailers cautiously optimistic for 2022 will include a focus on re-engineering their business models, ensuring they operate resilient supply chains and having a tight grip on their costs.”

 

How will the UK economy impact retailers this year? Read KPMGs latest UK economic outlook – also released today - here. 

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

  

Explore retail sales results from previous months