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BRC-KPMG: Black Friday proves a mixed blessing

People shopping centre escalator - IR Stone - shutterstock_237523528 725 x 500

The latest BRC – KPMG retail sales monitor, covering the four weeks 30 October – 26 November 2016, reveals that Food was the biggest contributor to growth in November. 

  • UK retail sales increased by 0.6% on a like-for-like basis from November 2015, when they had decreased 0.4% from the preceding year.
  • On a total basis, sales rose 1.3%, against a 0.7% increase in November 2015. This is slightly below the 3-month average of 1.6% but slightly faster than the 12-month average of 1.1%.
  • Over the three-months to November, Food sales were flat on a like-for-like basis and increased 1.5% on a total basis, clearly ahead of the 12-month Total average growth of 0.7%.
  • Over the three-months to November, Non-Food retail sales in the UK rose 1.5% on a like-for-like basis and 1.7% on a total basis. This is faster than the 12-month Total average growth of 1.4%. This is also the highest Non-Food 3-month average Total growth since March.
  • Over the three-months to November, Online sales grew 10.7% while In-store sales declined 0.8% on a Total basis and 1.1% on a like-for-like basis.


“November saw total sales up 1.3 per cent over the previous year, with Food the biggest contributor to growth. Whilst the figure isn’t spectacular, it’s a pretty solid performance in what has been a challenging year for sales in the UK.

“November plays host to Black Friday, which over the past few years has become one of the biggest shopping days of the year. This year’s event was expected to be the biggest yet, and our figures confirm that the week including Black Friday saw non-food sales up around 40 per cent compared with the other weeks of the month. However, compared to last year there was more of a shift of spending from earlier in the month, with sales down on last year in the weeks prior to the 25th November.

“It wasn’t the same story for everyone. Retailers of goods that don’t traditionally benefit from the event, such as clothing, saw weaker Black Friday week sales this year, but made the most of the increased online traffic in the weeks building up to the 25th November by offering promotions to capture shoppers browsing for early bargains.

“Overall, consumer spending remains stable, although very much value-driven with a focus towards products on promotion as shoppers take advantage of the deals of the moment and retailers strive to offer the best choice and value to their customers. With an extra weekend to shop for Christmas this year, nerves will be tested in December as retailers choose their strategies to attract the last minute gift shoppers.”


“November retail sales figures remained positive – with total growth up 1.3 per cent on last year –but performance has slowed down and was not as strong as the previous month. Black Friday deals will have lured would-be shoppers away from the high street in search of bargains online.

“There was notable improvement in the sales figures for certain categories, with footwear – particularly men’s – having performed well in light of the colder weather. Clothing however, struggled somewhat with less growth than we saw in October. That said, retailers are likely to be pleased with any growth in this category based on recent performance.

“Perhaps unsurprising for the time of year, toys and children’s accessories were flying off the shelves, helped along by increased promotion in the run-up to Christmas. With the festive season nearly upon us, it seems furniture was also on the shopping list for many, with the category performing particularly well.

“The next month will be critical for retailers, providing one final push to improve and maintain sales figures against a backdrop of increasing costs and consumers’ insatiable appetite for discounts.”

Food/Non-Food Quarterly Analysis: 3-month average % change year-on-year

Image: IR Stone /

Source : British Retail Consortium 

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06 December 2016

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