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Back to school purchasing drove retail growth of more than 2%

Paul Martin, UK Head of Retail at KPMG, said:

“Retail sales remained positive in September with growth of more than 2% on the same period last year – but much of this will be attributed to increased prices as volume of sales continue to be challenged.

Once again, clothing and footwear came to the rescue of the high street, and back to school purchasing was a driver in retail growth figures, with sales of children’s shoes up over 15%.  Sales of household appliances and cooking accessories also moved into positive territory this month, as consumers look to purchase more energy efficient kitchen items in light of rising energy prices.  Online sales remain down year on year, and those categories that did see some growth remained in single figures.

With interest rates, inflation, labour, energy and costs of goods continuing to climb, retailers are heading into one of the most challenging Christmas shopping periods they have had to deal with in years.  Consumer confidence remains low, and retailers are having to tread a very fine line between protecting their own margins and further denting confidence by passing on price rises.  A laser focus on their own costs and efficiencies in order to remain price competitive this festive season will be essential.  As consumers focus on getting value for money through switching to own brand items and seeking out discounts, getting pricing and promotional activity right could be the difference between a successful or dismal Christmas for retailers this year.”