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BDO: Black Friday Promotions Boost November Retail Sales

Black Friday Cyber Monday shutterstock_758476633
  • November retail sales record ninth month of consecutive growth 
  • Total like-for-like fashion sales up by over 50%
  • First ever decline in non-store like-for-like sales as High Street bounces back
  • Retailers spreading discounts across the month fend off supply chain issues

A full month of Black Friday discounts powered retailers to a ninth consecutive month of sales growth in November, new figures by accountancy and business advisory firm BDO LLP reveal. 

According to BDO’s High Street Sales Tracker (HSST), total like-for-like (LFL) sales, combined in-store and online, increased by +32.1% in November from a base of +3.3% for the equivalent month last year.

Total non-store like-for-like figures decreased by -5.3% from a base of +106.3% in November 2020. This is the first time since the HSST began recording for the channel in 2017 that it has seen a fall in non-store like-for-like sales. However, this decrease reflects a flattening of growth when compared to the lockdown period last year when online channels were the sole avenue for spending. 

In-store like-for-like sales saw substantial growth across all categories compared to November 2020, particularly in the fashion sector, which fared especially poorly during lockdown. 

Sector Results

Fashion saw the biggest growth with total like-for-like sales increasing by +51.3% for the month, from a base of -5.7% for the same time last year. Each week in November saw consistent growth in total like-for-like sales for fashion, with a surge in activity in the middle of the month. 

Sophie Michael, Head of Retail and Wholesale at BDO LLP, said: 

“Fashion retailers did particularly well in November with strong like-for-like sales of over 50%. This was partly down to the effect of lockdown during the comparative period in November last year. But it’s also the case that the recent disappearance of a number of prominent high street retailers has enabled the survivors to attract a higher proportion of spend from Christmas shoppers.”

Total like-for-like sales in the lifestyle sector increased by +20.6% in November, from a base of +17.6% for the equivalent month last year. This is the ninth month of positive total like-for-like sales for the lifestyle sector. 

Homeware total like-for-like sales rose by just +18.5% in November from a base of +8.5% the same month last year. While the homeware category has not always maintained consistent growth this year, clearly there is still strong demand from consumers to redecorate their homes, which may now also be serving as their office.  

Sophie further commented: 

“Many retailers brought forward Black Friday discounts to spread sales more evenly across the month rather than focus on a flurry of activity over the Black Friday weekend. This was, in part, an attempt to reduce bottlenecks and improve retailers’ ability to fulfil orders. Shoppers responded by bringing forward their Christmas purchases in an effort to ensure their goods were delivered on time. 

“After two months of strong performance, retailers are no doubt hoping that this momentum can be sustained into December, the final month of the all-important Golden Quarter. However, with stretched supply chains and ongoing workforce issues, retailers will continue to be challenged, particularly when it comes to fulfilling orders. There’s also a danger that the new Omicron variant, combined with worries around the rising cost of living, could knock consumer confidence and reduce footfall in the last few crucial weeks before Christmas.”

Source : BDO

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09 December 2021

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