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Retail sales in August up 4.1% vs prior year

Paul Martin, UK head of retail at KPMG, said:

“August saw a bounce back in retail sales growth to 4.1%, which will come as a relief for many retailers.

Health, beauty and food and drink were the strongest performing categories both on the high street and online, as consumers made the most of brief spells of sunshine to enjoy the summer holidays. Internet retailers continue to struggle as online sales fell yet again in August, dropping by 3% year on year.

As summer comes to an end, retailers will have their sights firmly set on the most crucial period of trading as consumers get ready for Christmas. Inflation levels are heading in the right direction, albeit much more slowly than hoped and savvy shoppers will be Christmas bargain hunting much earlier this year, as price continues to drive decisions and consumers seek out good deals that will stretch their budgets further. Becoming more calculated and more aware of what they are getting for their money than we have seen for a long time, means retailers will have to fight harder for every sale.

Having fought off the pandemic and the cost of living crisis, we are already starting to see the resilience of the sector start to fade and high street casualties are starting to emerge. Maintaining consumer confidence as we head into the golden quarter will be absolutely vital for some in the sector, who will need a good Christmas in order to continue trading in 2024.”

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.

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