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Retail sales suffer in September

The Indian summer wrought havoc on Britain’s retailers last month, setting off the poorest sales performance since December 2008, when Britain was in the darkest days of the banking crisis.

Retailers selling clothing and footwear were particularly hard hit, the latest sales monitor from the British Retail Consortium and KPMG reveals, as Britons put off buying autumn and winter gear and continued to bask in the sunshine.

Retail sales in the UK fell by 2.1pc in September on a like-for-like basis compared to the same month a year earlier. Total sales, which also take into account sales at stores opened or closed in the intervening year, were also down 0.8pc on September 2013, marking the worst performance since late 2008 when the global financial system was in melt-down.

Clothing and footwear sales recorded their worst decline since April 2012 and March 2013 respectively.

The disastrous performance will be confirmed by a string of retailers when they update the City on trading over the next few weeks.

New pressure on Marks & Spencer as analyst warns clothing and food sales falling 10 Oct 2014
Mail order shopping company N Brown blamed the exceptionally warm weather in September last week as it issued a profit warning while retail analysts have already warned shareholders in Marks & Spencer that the high street stalwart may have suffered a sales decline of as much as 4pc over the last three months. M&S reports half-year numbers on November 5.

Helen Dickinson, director of the BRC, also pointed to the severe pressure on the big supermarket chains for the poor performance last month. Food sales have slumped 1.7pc over the last three months.

Ms Dickinson said: “In September we saw the lowest retail sales figures since December 2008 excluding Easter distortions. This can be attributed to a number of factors including the continuing decline in food sales. Furthermore, there was exceptionally low demand for items such as boots and coats, resulting in the lowest fashion sales performance since April 2012. However, demand for big ticket items continues to be strong with furniture outperforming all other categories.”

David McCorquodale, head of retail at KPMG, said: “The prolonged Indian summer wilted retail sales in September, leaving clothing retailers hot under the collar. Selling woolly jumpers in warm weather is a tough ask, even for the most talented of sales staff.

“After a bumper summer, this is a disappointing outcome for retailers and has undoubtedly reversed some of the sales gains made in August. However, if temperatures drop to a more seasonal level this cooler weather will quickly turnaround retailers’ fortunes and help them to sell their autumn winter ranges.”

Source : Nathalie Thomas

14 October 2014

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Thank you for the excellent presentation that you gave at Woodbury Park on Thursday morning. It was very interesting and thought-provoking for our Retail members. The feedback has been excellent.

Martin Elliott. Chief Executive - Home Hardware.

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