Cookshops and other housewares retailers performed better than all other business sectors covered by the British Independent Retailers Association’s latest quarterly sales monitor.
The new figures show that in the last quarter of 2011 cookshops and housewares businesses enjoyed a 5.9% rise in sales over the same quarter in 2010. The next best figure was a 3% rise for department stores, followed by DIY/hardware stores, up 2.9%, furniture/floorcoverings/beds/soft furnishings stores, up 2.5%, and pet product stores, up 1.3%.
The other sectors covered by the monitor – clothing/footwear, gifts/glass/china/jewellery/luggage, stationery, books/toys/music/computers, garden and other – all saw falls.
Nevertheless, BIRA says the figures reveal a strong finish to 2011 for independents, with the highest proportion of members reporting a year-on-year increase for the quarter since the survey first began at the end of 2007.
It was also the first quarter in the past seven in which more independents enjoyed higher sales than suffered a decrease. The average rise for these predominantly non-food retailers may only have been 1.57% but this follows more than a year of overall falls.
Regionally, the Midlands reversed eight quarters of reductions with a 7.9% increase as did, to a lesser extent, East Anglia, Wales and the south east and London.
Asked how confident they felt about the year ahead, 48% of members said they were anxious but 49% were reasonably confident and 3% very confident.