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BDO: Strong November Sales Despite Weaker Black Friday

Social distancing sign shopping retail shutterstock_1701116239.jpg

Thanks to extensive discounting throughout the month, retailers recorded an uplift of +3.3% in November despite a second national lockdown, 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, recorded an increase of +3.3% in November, from a negative base of -1.8% for the same month last year. The bringing forward of Black Friday promotions into earlier weeks may have contributed to the best total like-for-like result since January and the third positive result this year. This month’s total LFL result is also the best for a November since 2017.

Weekly Results and Black Friday

November saw rising total LFL sales from week one, as England settled into a national lockdown, through to the penultimate week of the month hitting a high of +8.52% in week two. However, the final week, which included Black Friday, saw total LFLs fall by -3.81% from a base of +22.62% for Black Friday week last year.

Sector Results

Both the lifestyle and homeware sectors grew this month, while fashion recorded another poor result.

Spurred by Christmas shopping, lifestyle total like-for-like sales improved by +17.6% in November, from a poor base of -2.6% for November last year. The result marks the second consecutive month of growth for lifestyle and the best monthly result since September 2017.

Homeware total like-for-like sales also surged +8.5% this month from a base of -0.1% for the equivalent month last year. Boosted by work from home orders and lockdown restrictions, the category has performed comparatively well this year, and November marks the seventh straight month of positive results for homeware.

Conversely, fashion total like-for-like sales fell by –5.7% in November from an already negative base of -1.9% for the same month last year. The sector has now suffered nine straight months of negative total like-for-like sales, as the end of the month saw the collapse of several high street giants in the category.  

As with the previous lockdown, non-store like-for-like sales were elevated by virtue of becoming the only discretionary channel available to consumers giving November the largest non-store result since May. Total non-store like-for-like sales increased by +106.3% in November from a base of only +2.8% last year.

Sophie Michael, Head of Retail and Wholesale at BDO LLP, said: “Retailers will need to make the most of every opportunity as lockdown lifts and the Christmas trading season reaches its zenith in December.

“While November results were promising, the figures have been heavily impacted by widespread discounting and lockdown’s knock-on effect on in-store sales and strong online demand.

“As we head into 2021, more store closures are sadly imminent and brands that survive will be those that capitalise on digital channel investment and adapt their store portfolio quickly to changing consumer behaviour. The overall picture for the high street in 2020 looks bleak, but retailers have shown immense resilience, and some have even proven in the most turbulent times there are success stories to be found.”

Source : BDO

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07 December 2020

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