23 May 2024, 07:46
By Furniture News Apr 14, 2023

Accessories and furniture lead March retail sales fillip

UK total retail sales increased by +5.1% in March, against an increase of +3.1% in March 2022, according to the latest BRC-KPMG Retail Sales Monitor, which says that accessories and furniture saw the biggest growth as consumers looked to entertain guests at home rather than eating out.

LFL retail sales increased +4.9% in March, against a decline of -0.4% in March 2022. 

Online non-food sales decreased by -2.1%, against a decline of -29% in March 2022. The proportion of non-food items bought online decreased to 38.4% in March from 40.7% in March 2022. 

Helen Dickinson OBE, chief executive, British Retail Consortium (BRC), says: “While the wettest March in over 40 years dampened sales growth for fashion, gardening and DIY products, Mother’s Day brightened up sales for the month. Stores were given an extra boost, as last-minute shoppers dashed to their local high streets and shopping centres to purchase jewellery, fragrances and flowers.

“With consumer confidence edging up and big events on the horizon such as the King’s coronation, retailers have reason for a spring in their step. However, extensive cost pressures on business remain, and Government must ensure it minimises incoming regulatory burdens. Unless these future costs are brought to a heel, we will likely see high inflation continue for UK consumers who already face rising household bills from this month.”

Paul Martin, UK head of retail at KPMG, adds: “Many retailers hoping for a Mother’s Day boost will have been disappointed with overall sales growth of just +5% in March, against a backdrop of rising inflation running at more than 10%.

“High street retailers saw some limited growth across most categories in March, but as consumers cut back on eating out, spending on home comforts, accessories and furniture saw the biggest growth, with people looking to entertain at home instead.  Online retailers also benefited from the boost in sales of home items, but saw continued decline in sales across most other categories, particularly clothing."

The reported sales figures are not adjusted for inflation. Given that inflation is running at historically record levels, the rise in sales masks a much larger drop in volumes once inflation is accounted for. 

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