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Retail sales growth

Food and clothing prices drives retail sales through September

Retail sales growth was driven through September thanks to higher food and clothing prices, figures from the British Retail Consortium (BRC) and KPMG have shown.

Like-for-like retail sales rose by 1.9% in September, higher than the 0.4% increase in September 2016. Total sales climbed by 2.3%.

“Retailers have worked hard to keep a lid on price rises following the depreciation of the pound, but with a potent mix of more expensive imports and increasing business costs from various government policies, something had to give at some point,” said Helen Dickinson, chief executive at the BRC.

“Spending is still being focused towards essential purchases; with consumers buying their winter coats and back to school items, but shying away from big ticket items such as furniture and delaying the renewal of key household electrical goods.”

On a like-for-like basis over the three months to September food sales rose by 2.5% and 3.5% total, with non-food sales rising by 0.5%, or 0.9% total.

Paul Martin, KPMG UK’s head of retail, said: “With potential interest rate rises on the horizon, shaky consumer confidence and ever-increasing levels of household debt, uncertainty remains.

“We’re now moving into the final quarter, which will ultimately define whether 2017 has been a good or bad year for retailers.”