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BRC-KPMG Retail Sales Monitor - October brings encouraging Pre-Christmas sales pick-up

Latest figures from the BRC show that UK retail sales were up 0.8% on a like-for-like basis from October 2012, when they had decreased 0.1% on the preceding year.

The BRC-KPMG Retail Sales Monitor for October shows that on a total basis, sales were up 2.6%, against a 1.1% increase in October 2012.

The 3-month average total growth (2.8%) is much closer aligned to the 12-month average of 2.7%, suggesting a more sustainable level has been reached.

Food sales growth during the last three months averaged 2.0% – below recent levels of inflation – indicating shrinking volumes. Clothing experienced a decline in total sales for the first time since March, affected by unseasonably warm weather. Strong growth in Other Non-Food points to an encouraging start to the festive season.

Online sales of non-food products in the UK grew 12.1% in October versus a year earlier. The online penetration rate was 18.3% in October, the highest level ever recorded by our Monitor over 23 months.

Helen Dickinson, Director General, British Retail Consortium, said: "It's encouraging to see growth heading in the right direction again after a disappointing slowdown in September. Much of the improvement was driven by sustained demand for new games and gadgets, and there was also a strong showing for home accessories and textiles. In contrast, clothing sales fell for the first time since March, suggesting that many customers prioritised leisure and home improvements over refreshing their wardrobes until more autumnal conditions took hold.

"Consumer confidence paused in October, and while conditions remain challenging, the signs are that customers are managing their budgets well while allowing some leeway for occasional treats. Retailers will be looking to respond to this appetite for good value with a little luxury here and there in their promotions and product offerings for the Christmas period."

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