Retailers saw small growth across most categories in March

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

“Many Retailers hoping for a Mother’s Day boost will have been disappointed with the overall sector experiencing sales growth of just 5% in March, against a backdrop of rising inflation running at more than 10%.

High street retailers saw some limited growth across most categories in March, but as consumers cut back on eating out, spending on home comforts, accessories and furniture saw the biggest growth, as people look to entertain at home.  Online retailers also benefited from the boost in sales of items for the home, but saw continued decline in sales across most other categories, particularly clothing.

 As we enter the crucial month of April, rising utility costs, council tax and mobile bills coupled with frozen personal tax rates and the withdrawal of energy bill support will see consumers having to further cut back on discretionary spending.  Consumers will continue to take steps to reduce spend where they can - switching where they shop, what they buy, and spending on fewer items. 

The challenge for retailers right now is having to face into their own rising cost agenda, as the rise in minimum wage rates comes into effect and inflation continues to challenge margins, whilst ensuring affordability, choice and value for customers, which will be key to keeping the tills ringing.

As the difficult economic conditions continue, retailers will be hoping that April prompts consumers to look for some comfort in tasty chocolate treats and the sun starts to shine forcing replenishment of summer wardrobes.”

The BRC KPMG Retail sales monitor is one of the UK’s most timely, and accurate performance indicators for UK sales. Read the full report complete with sales data from the British Retail Consortium