24 May 2024, 17:02
By Furniture News Nov 14, 2014

Furniture retail sales enjoy highest growth in October

According to the BRC-KPMG Retail Sales Monitor, UK retail sales were flat last month, at 0.0% on a like-for-like basis from October 2013, when they had increased 0.8% on the preceding year. On a total basis, sales were up 1.4%, against a 2.6% rise in October 2013. This was an improvement on the previous month and beat the three-month average growth of 1.0%.

The Furniture category again topped the growth ranking table for the second month in a row, even though the GfK’s Climate for Major Purchase index dipped from 0 in September to -5 in October. Beds and sofas were among the best performers. Non-Food reported growth of 2.8% over the three months to October 2014, underperforming its twelve-month average of 3.7%. Online sales of non-food products in the UK grew 15.4% in October versus a year earlier, when it had grown 12.1%. This was the highest online growth since Christmas 2013. The Non-Food online penetration rate was 18.2% in October, 1.7 percentage points higher than in October 2013.

Helen Dickinson, director general, British Retail Consortium, says: “The good news is that overall retail sales continued to grow although not as fast as this time last year. Retailers have thought creatively about marketing solutions to incentivise sales of winter merchandise during the warmer weather. For example the use of analytics has enabled loyal customers to be offered targeted flash reductions with sale items being made available both in store and online.

“Consumers are still prioritising household items such as furniture over fashion, with furniture outperforming all other categories for a second month in a row. There are positive signs that homeware items traditionally popular for gifting are selling increasingly well in the build-up to the festive period.”
David McCorquodale, head of retail at KPMG, says: "Looking at these figures, most retailers will feel they were tricked rather than treated in October. Even the most experienced of shopkeepers could not have foreseen a heat wave at Halloween and most were left with sales which were flat at best.

“Sadly, this warmer weather has left many fashion retailers with a substantial stock overhang, raising the question of earlier and deeper discounts as we get closer to Christmas. Retailers need a nippy November to help them sell their winter stock before the season's out.

“With Christmas in their sights, retailers are launching their highly anticipated festive campaigns to connect with and inspire consumers to shop with them this year. All channels will be tested to the full over the coming weeks with a careful eye monitoring the margins.”

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