Shopping Centre Data – Retail sales

Published:  13 May, 2015

Best three month average sales growth since June 2014

According to the BRC-KPMG Retail Sales Monitorfor April 2015, UK retail sales decreased by 2.4 per cent on a like-for-like basis from April 2014, when they had increased 4.2 per cent on the preceding year. On a total basis, sales were down 1.3 per cent, against a 5.7 per cent rise in April 2014.

The figures are negatively distorted by the inclusion of the build-up to Easter in March this year against April last year. The three-month average, which removes the distorting effect of Easter, showed the strongest underlying growth since last June.

Total Food sales grew 0.4 per cent over the threemonths to April, ahead of their 0.6 per cent decline over the last 12 months. Total Non-Food sales grew 3.2 per cent over the same period and also outperformed their 12-month average growth of 3.0 per cent. The fashion and beauty categories outperformed while the home ones underperformed.

Online sales of Non-Food products in the UK grew 15.4 per cent in April versus a year earlier, when they had grown 11.2 per cent. The Non-Food online penetration rate was 17.6 per cent, up from 15.9 per cent in April 2014.

BRC director general Helen Dickinson said: "April witnessed a solid performance for fashion and beauty retailers; particularly welcome following a disappointing Autumn/Winter season. While the early Easter this year heavily distorted April’s figures, across all categories, we see the best three month average year-on-year growth since June of last year; a clear indication that confidence among consumers is slowly improving and that despite profitability being under intense pressure due to changes in shopping habits and promotional activity, retail remains a robust pillar of the economy.

"Among the non-food categories, the only ones which saw a dip were in homewares, which was to be expected due to the timing of Easter. Consumer spending on food over the past three months also increased, with sales rising by 0.4 per cent compared to the same period last year. This is reasonably encouraging when we consider the structural changes and very competitive market in which grocery retailers find themselves operating."

And David McCorquodale, head of retail at KPMG, said: "With an early Easter pulling sales forward into March, top-line trends for April inevitably look pretty weak. However, taking the three months to April to eliminate seasonality, this is a bit of an April fool, as retail sales have continued their steady rise through the year and increased by 1.9 per cent. In particular, the sunniest April since records began gave a boost to fashion sales, driving demand for spring/summer clothing and footwear with consumers also taking advantage of Easter sales to bag a bargain.

"Food sales for the quarter grew by less than half a per cent but this is still positive compared to the declines felt through most of 2014. Like for like grocery sales continue to decline but the long road to recovery appears to be taking some direction.”

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