UK retail sales rose by 2.6 percent on a like-for-like basis in September compared to the same month last year. On a total basis, sales were up 3.9 percent, making September the fastest growing month since January 2014, according to figures released by the British Retail Corporation and KPMG in the monthly price index.
However, the BRC has warned that sales growth was likely to be “positively distorted” due to the inclusion of the Bank Holiday into the September period, as well as the shifting of back-to-school sales. In addition, the BRC adds that the month’s figures were also flattered by a “soft comparable period” last year.
Fashion sales were however given a boost in September with more autumnal weather encouraging shoppers to check out the new season ranges, as well as buying last minute back-to-school purchases, which has helped lift sales of children’s clothes and shoes.
On a three-month basis, total non-food sales were up 3.7 percent, ahead of their 12-month average of 3.3 percent. Furniture was September’s top performing category, with the highest sales seen since April of 2014, with footwear being the second best performing category, recording its best performance since March last year.
Helen Dickinson, BRC director general, said: "September was a bright month for retail, with the strongest sales performance since January of last year, excluding Easter distortions. However, sales growth was boosted by the August Bank Holiday, which fell in this period as opposed to August last year, shifting back-to-school sales into September, so such strong growth is likely to be overstated.
“Retailers are seeing some improved consumer demand but they continue to operate in a very competitive environment. They are looking to Government to lighten the excessive tax burden they face.”
David McCorquodale, head of retail at KPMG, added: "Moving into the final quarter of 2015, retailers will be keeping a watchful eye on Christmas with the launch of festive campaigns starting to wet consumers' appetites and Black Friday expected to be big again.”