Retail sales rose 1.7 per cent in October, says British Retail Consortium

British Retail Consortium/KPMG figures show UK retail sales increased by 1.7 per cent on a like-for-like basis from October 2015, when they had decreased 0.2 per cent from the preceding year.

Sales rose 2.4 per cent, against a 0.9 per cent increase in October 2015. This is the strongest growth since January, ahead of the three-month and 12-month averages, both at 1.1 per cent.

Over the three-months to October, non-food retail sales in the UK rose 0.6 per cent on a like-for-like basis and 0.8 per cent on a total basis. This represents a pick-up versus September but remains below the 12-month Total average growth of 1.4 per cemt.

BRC chief executive Helen Dickinson said: "October’s figures paint a more positive picture of retail sales, with an increase of 2.4 per cent on the previous year and reaching well beyond the 3-month average of 1.1 per cent. There was a more balanced contribution from all product categories, nearly all of which saw a degree of sales growth.

"Notably, fashion saw a reversal of recent fortunes, as new seasonal ranges drew shoppers in and boosted sales. Electronics too saw a strong sales resulting from new product releases and was a significant driver of the month’s performance. This was compounded by international shoppers’ spending, which has soared since July as tourists take advantage of the weak pound to buy luxury goods at bargain prices.

"It is clear from today’s figures, that despite the inflationary pressure that’s gradually building in the supply chain, retailers are currently effectively managing the additional cost burdens and continue to entice their customers with great choice and value."

KPMG retail head Paul Martin said"It’s been a spooktacular month for retailers this October, with total sales up 2.4 per cent in the month - continuing the on-going theme of UK shoppers being undeterred by the prospect of Brexit. 

"Children’s clothing and accessories performed particularly well, no doubt prompted by Halloween as well as the prospect of colder weather in the months to come. However, it was jewellery and watch sales that seemingly continue to go from strength to strength, suggesting that international shoppers are continuing to clock-in on favourable exchange rates before potential price hikes next year.

"Following disappointing sales in female fashion for some time now, collectively women’s clothing fared a little better this month with some growth - undoubtedly welcome news.

"With retailers already a third of the way through the golden quarter, and Black Friday weekend and Christmas looming they will be hoping to maintain momentum by capturing the attention of shoppers in the noisiest time of year."

Garden centres have also seen a strong October, while CBI surveys saw sales rise in the month.

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