September suffers from Summer hangover
Covering the five weeks 26 August – 29 September 2018
- In September, UK retail sales decreased by 0.2% on a like-for-like basis from September 2017, when they had increased 1.9% from the preceding year.
- On a total basis, sales increased 0.7% in September, against an increase of 2.3% in September 2017. This is the lowest since October, excluding Easter distortions, and below the 3-month and 12-month averages of 1.2% and 1.3% respectively.
- Over the three months to September, In-store sales of Non-Food items declined 2.7% on a Total basis and 4.0% on a Like-for-like basis. This is in line with the 12-month Total average decline of 2.7%.
- Over the three months to September, Food sales increased 2.3% on a like-for-like basis and 3.4% on a total basis. This is below the 12-month Total average growth of 3.7%.
- Over the three-months to September, Non-Food retail sales in the UK decreased 1.6% on a like-for-like basis and 0.6% on a Total basis. This is in line with the 12-month Total average decrease of 0.5%. September Non Food sales remained in decline.
- Online sales of Non-Food products grew 5.4% in September, against a growth of 10.7% in September 2017, the second-best growth of 2017. This is the lowest growth since January and below the 3-month and 12-month averages of 6.7% and 7.1% respectively. Online penetration rate increased from 22.7% to 24.2% in September 2018.
Paul Martin, UK Head of Retail | KPMG
“Like-for-like retail sales in September were down 0.2 per cent on this time last year, but then last year consumers were remaining more defiant in the face of Brexit and shopping regardless.
“Grocery continued to perform, but growth in the category retreated in September. The non-food categories however, continued to disappoint. The historically reliable back-to-school push did not elevate apparel sales. Instead the latest tech launches were a rare source for optimism.
“Online retail continued to fare better. Even clothing sales managed to grab the attention of those browsing the web to refresh their wardrobe.
“The final golden quarter of the year marks the ultimate test for many players, but retailers must also successfully navigate: the upcoming government Budget, Black Friday, Christmas, and of course Brexit.”
Helen Dickinson OBE, Chief Executive | British Retail Consortium
"These figures lay bare the difficult operating environment for the retail industry. After a challenging August, constrained consumer spending in September has resulted in the weakest sales growth for five months.
"Retail represents 5 per cent of the economy and pays almost 25 per cent of the business rates bill and this disproportionate cost burden is especially hard to bear given the current trend in sales. The effect can be seen in the fact that there have been 3,200 UK store closures in the past three years.
"The Government has said it wants to "back business" and retailers are waiting to see if this is just talk or if there will be meaningful action - like a freeze in business rates in the Budget."
Food & Drink sector performance | Jon Woolven, Strategy and Innovation Director | IGD
“The September food and grocery figures cemented the trend in late August for volumes to fall versus 2017, although with some inflation in the mix, sales value remained modestly in growth.
“Shopper confidence has followed a downward path with those expecting to be financially better off over the year ahead dipping from 26 per cent in July to 22 per cent in September. Brexit related uncertainty probably plays a part in this, so retailers will be hoping for a clear resolution ahead of the Christmas shopping season.”
- ENDS -
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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. Estimatesbased 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.
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