David McCorquodale, head of retail, KPMG, said: "The prolonged Indian summer wilted retail sales in September, leaving clothing retailers hot under the collar. Selling woolly jumpers in warm weather is a tough ask, even for the most talented of sales staff.
"After a bumper summer, this is a disappointing outcome for retailers and has undoubtedly reversed some of the sales gains made in August. However, if temperatures drop to a more seasonal level this cooler weather will quickly turnaround retailers' fortunes and help them to sell their autumn winter ranges.”
UK like-for-like retail sales down 2.1 percent in September
Helen Dickinson, director general, British Retail Consortium, added: "In September we saw the lowest retail sales figures since December 2008 excluding Easter distortions. This can be attributed to a number of factors including the continuing decline in food sales. Furthermore, there was exceptionally low demand for items such as boots and coats, resulting in the lowest fashion sales performance since April 2012.”
Overall the non-food category, which includes clothing and footwear, reported growth of 3 percent over the three months to September 2014, underperforming its twelve-month average of 3.6 percent.
However, the BRC and KPMG did state that there were encouraging signs for retailers as the build up to Christmas begins, with toys and beauty products already selling well and this is expected to accelerate as December 25th gets closer.
McCorquodale explained: “One warm September doesn’t ruin a Christmas and retailers on the whole are on a firm footing as they enter the all-important final quarter. The winners will be those who have invested in their systems and carefully managed their stock levels to give themselves the best shot at a successful Christmas.”