Last month’s retail sales were just up 0.7% on a like-for-like basis from September 2012, according to new figures.
The data, collected or the British Retail Consortium (BRC) by KPMG, reveals that the growth was driven by electricals and leisure goods, while food experienced a decline in like-for-like sales.
Home accessories was the second-best performing category in September, building on August’s momentum, albeit against weak previous year comparatives. Cooking accessories seem to have been boosted by TV series ‘The Great British Bake Off’ and there was a strong start to the gifting season.
BRC Director General Helen Dickinson said: “The BRC-KPMG data shows that while total retail sales have continued to grow this month, it’s been the weakest growth so far this year – if you exclude Easter distortions. Grocery sales have been particularly hard-hit. However,the continued improvement in the UK housing market is beginning to make a difference in the retail sector, shown by a strong performance in home accessories.
“Retailers are hiring extra staff and readying their offer for the crucial Christmas period at the moment, so they will be looking at these figures closely as they gear up for the festive season.”
David McCorquodale, Head of Retail, KPMG, said: “These figures are a reality check and will make retailers nervous as we enter the run-up to Christmas. The stark fact is that the retail recovery remains fragile and in the lead-up to Christmas retailers, who are generally carrying less stock than in prior years, will need to manage promotional activity carefully to maintain margins.”