The non-food category of retail sales, which includes clothing and footwear sales, saw a growth of 3.9 percent during the three-month period to August 2014. The online sales of non-food products reported a record growth last month, increasing 19.8 percent in August compared to a year ago, reflecting the ongoing trend towards e-commerce.
“Back to school sales and the changing of the season saw fashion retailers put in a strong performance in August. Overall, it has been a very successful summer for non-food retailers, placing them on a firm footing for the autumn/winter trading period and the run up to Christmas,” said David McCorquodale, head of retail at KPMG. “With autumn drawing in, the countdown to Christmas has now begun. This will be a true bellwether of consumer confidence. If shoppers feel secure enough in the future to spend, then retailers could be in for an enjoyable Christmas this year.”
Overall, UK retail sales reported a 1.3 percent increase on a like-for-like basis in August, compared to the same month last year when sales grew 1.8 percent the preceding year. On a total basis, sales increased 2.7 percent last month, the industry’s 'best performance' since January this year, excluding Easter distortions, reported the BRC.
“August has recorded the strongest growth in retail sales since January this year. This was driven in the main by the best growth of clothing and footwear since December 2011, indicating a higher level of consumer confidence in the economy,” commented Helen Dickinson, director general for the BRC. “Retailers have pointed to the successful launch of their autumn fashion collections helped by the cooler weather, as well as a good response to marketing campaigns for back to school clothing.”