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Retail sales creep up as shoppers get ready for summer

Retailers avoided the traditional slowdown in shoppers in February with like-for-like sales up 0.2% compared to a 1% decrease last year. Overall, sales increased 1.7% year on year, up from a 0.7% rise in 2014.

Online sales grew 8.3% year on year, a drop from the 14.3% increase seen in 2014. However, shoppers continued to spend more online than in store on non-food items.

The latest BRC-KPMG retail sales monitor revealed that clothing was the largest contributor to bricks and mortar growth during the month. However, it also highlighted that some retailers felt the introduction of new spring ranges while the weather was cold forced earlier mid-season Sales events than in 2014.

British Retail Consortium director general Helen Dickinson said: “There was some specific excitement around swimwear, sandals and other ‘holiday’ items as consumers turned their mind to their getaways. Valentine’s Day also drove good sales of beauty products, jewellery and food related gifts.

“Fundamentally though, sales are up while prices fall which means that retailers are continuing to work hard to provide original products that excite customers at the right price. So far, 2015 has been positive for both retailers and consumers and it shows no signs yet of changing course.”

KPMG head of retail David McCorquodale said: “The fall off in the three-month average in non-food sales is a result of last year’s Black Friday dropping out. Retailers will be hoping that the arrival of spring can drive a more sustained upswing in spending as warmer temperatures encourage shoppers to splurge on new season outfits.”

@LukeToddUK

Readers' comments (3)

  • Sales are great. However it's margin that matters. John Lewis is reducing staff bonuses owing to margin reductions and it will be interesting to see figures for others as they roll out.

    Margin pressure and a slowing of online sales for clothing is a more accurate analysis.

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  • Until the big players have the confidence to sell their products at the right price we will have a continual fight as an indie retailer to make the customer pay full price. Even the god John Lewis is in on the act, (also squeezing their suppliers too which indies are unable to do). When the small town high street is dead because small town retailers have disappeared the public will realise what they have allowed the big players to achieve!

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  • Maybe a new way of retailing is here...that now the discounted price IS the correct price?

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