Recovery in retail sales slows further in September as consumer confidence weakens

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Retailers saw their post-pandemic recovery stall in September, as sales slowed to their weakest performance since January, when businesses were under heavy lockdown restrictions, new figures show.

The latest BRC-KPMG retail sales monitor showed a negative trend as the key Christmas trading season approaches.

Meanwhile, separate figures from Barclaycard revealed that consumer confidence also fell during the month amid concerns over fuel and supply shortages.

The BRC-KPMG report showed that total sales rose 0.6% in September compared to the same month last year, compared to an average growth of 3.1% for the past three months.

Like-for-like sales decreased 0.6% in September compared to the same month in 2020.



Retailers will have to work very hard to ensure the availability of the right product at the right price to meet the demands of an increasingly demanding customer.

Paul Martin, KPMG

Helen Dickinson, Managing Director of the British Retail Consortium (BRC), said: “September saw the slowest retail sales growth since January, when the UK was on lockdown.

“There are signs that consumer confidence is being affected as fuel shortages, combined with wetter weather, took an impact in the second half of the month.”

She added that this particularly affected larger purchases, such as furniture and household items.

Online sales of non-food items declined during the month as more people returned to Main Street stores.

In the three months ending September, non-food retailers, such as fashion and housewares stores, saw their total sales increase 3.8% from the same period last year.

Meanwhile, food stores saw sales increase 2.3% for the quarter.

Paul Martin UK, Head of Retail at KPMG, said: “As we approach the crucial Christmas shopping season, retailers continue to face staff pressures and supply chain issues. , with challenges getting products into the UK and getting the goods into the hands of customers.

“This can lead to limited availability of some products and the specter of price increases remains as retailers pull all the strings for Christmas.

“Consumers should start shopping earlier to pack items already flagged as potentially out of stock by December, and successful retailers will have to work very hard to ensure that the right product is available at the right price to meet demands. requirements of an increasingly demanding customer.



As the holiday season approaches, we expect spending to gradually ramp up as shoppers start shopping for gifts and preparing for gatherings with loved ones.

Raheel Ahmed, Barclaycard

Elsewhere, Barclaycard said its latest consumer spending data for September showed consumers were starting to feel the impact of the price hike on their finances.

He revealed that card spending rose 13.3% in September compared to the same period in 2019, as Britons took advantage of the last summer sun.

However, it also found that nearly half of shoppers – 46% – said they saw empty shelves in supermarkets, while 18% found it more difficult than usual to find fresh fruits and vegetables.

The number of Britons confident in their ability to purchase non-essential items fell four percentage points in September to 59% from 63% in August, bringing consumer confidence to its lowest level since February.

Raheel Ahmed, Head of Consumer Products at Barclaycard, said: “Consumers are starting to feel the impact of rising prices on their personal finances, however, which is also hurting confidence levels.

“While this is causing some Brits to seek value in their purchases, as the holiday season approaches we expect spending to gradually accelerate as shoppers start buying gifts and shopping. prepare for gatherings with loved ones. “


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