Posted 18th February

Retailers cautious despite return to sales growth

18th February 2019 - 07:00am
money matters, brc, british retail consortium, kpmg, retail, sales, monitor, furniture, non-food, household, appliance, kbb, kbbdaily

Retailers are “looking nervously to the future” after a welcome return to growth in UK retail sales in January after a “disappointing December”, according to British Retail Consortium – BRC – CEO Helen Dickinson, pictured.

The latest BRC-KPMG Retail Sales Monitor reported a 1.8% rise in like-for-like UK retail sales last month. However, non-food retail sales have seen a 0.8% decline on a like-for-like basis over the three months to January.

In-store sales of non-food items declined by 3.2% on a like-for-like basis over the three months to January, the BRC noted, while online sales of non-food products in January grew by 5.4%, with the online penetration rate rising from 28.2% in January 2018 to 29.4% last month.

Sales of household appliances and furniture were both up on a like-for-like basis in January, the BRC added. “There was a welcome return to growth this month after December’s disappointing sales figures,” Dickinson said.

“But while retail discounts helped tempt cautious consumers, there is no guarantee this momentum will continue after the sales have finished. And it will not just be brick-and-mortar stores looking nervously to the future, as online sales continued to grow below the long-term trend.”

She added: “The risk of a disruptive no deal Brexit could see these fortunes reversed. Unless the Government want to see well-known brands disappearing from our high streets in 2019, they should work with their colleagues in Parliament to find a solution that avoids the shock of a no-deal Brexit on 29th March and removes the risks to UK consumers.”

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