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

“Retailers saw continued sales growth on the high street in February with sales up nearly 7% on last year when the UK was subject to lockdown restrictions.

Clothing and footwear categories witnessed the highest growth, most double-digits in February as restrictions were lifted and consumers re-stocked wardrobes, heading back to offices and embracing life living with COVID-19.

Online sales volumes continued to fall across all categories compared to February 2021. Online penetration however remains considerably higher than pre-pandemic levels, forcing retailers to continuously focus on reengineering their business models to find the right mix between physical and online retailing.

As we move into a new phase of managing COVID-19, retailers will be focussed on keeping consumers spending, as the cost-of-living squeeze threatens the health of the sector.

With travel very much re-opened, retailers are facing a double whammy of competing for share of wallet at the same time as the cost of living hits a three-decade high. As is the case for consumers, retailers also face tough inflationary pressures and will have to make challenging decisions around how to absorb those costs or pass them on without losing customers. It could be a challenging time ahead for some in the sector should consumers choose to cut their spending to manage increasing household bills.”

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

  

Explore retail sales results from previous months