Retail sales grew by +2.1% YoY (+4.6% Yo2Y) in December, reports the latest BRC-KPMG Retail Sales Monitor. 

LFL sales were up +0.6% YoY, online non-food sales fell by -13.9% (against the previous year in which the UK was in lockdown for large parts of the month), an the non-food online penetration rate decreased to 45% (from 52.5% in December 2020) 

BRC chief executive Helen Dickinson OBE says: “Despite the recent Omicron outbreak, retail sales held up through December. Many people chose to shop online rather than travel to nearby high streets and shopping centres. In the face of rising case numbers and supply chain issues, people in retail pulled out all the stops to ensure everyone got what they wanted this Christmas.”

“Retailers did well to weather the challenging trade conditions, with retail sales for 2021 up on both the previous year and compared to pre-pandemic levels. Continuing a trend throughout the pandemic towards online shopping, 2021 saw a double digit rise in non-food online sales, a testament to retailers’ huge investments in their online platforms. However, retail faces significant headwinds in 2022, as consumer spending is held back by rising inflation, increasing energy bills, and April's National Insurance hike. It will take continued agility and resilience if they are to battle the storm ahead, while also tackling issues from labour shortages to rising transport and logistics costs.”

As a category, furniture fell to 10th place of 13 in December, from 4th in November – but, on average, the category occupied the 3rd spot in 2021.