Like-for-like retail sales were flat in October compared with the year-ago period, according to the latest statistics released by the British Retail Consortium (BRC) and KPMG.
Total sales rose 1.4% which was an improvement on the previous month and beat the three-month average growth of 1%. Furniture and the home categories delivered the best performance in October.
BRC director general Helen Dickinson said: “The good news is that overall retail sales continued to grow, although not as fast as this time last year. Consumers are still prioritising household items such as furniture over fashion, with furniture outperforming all other categories for a second month in a row.”
She added: “Retailers’ preparation around stocking items required for Halloween celebrations meant a significant year-on-year increase in Halloween-related sales. The impact was also felt with an improved three month average in sales of food, although not enough to stem the trend felt over the last six months. It remains to be seen whether the Christmas period will start to provide better fortunes for food. However, there are positive signs that beauty and homeware items – traditionally popular for gifting – are selling increasingly well in the build-up to the festive period.”
KPMG head of retail David McCorquodale added: “With Christmas in their sights, retailers are launching their highly anticipated festive campaigns to connect with and inspire consumers to shop with them this year. All channels will be tested to the full over the coming weeks with a careful eye monitoring the margins.”