Covering the four weeks 2 October – 29 October 2016

  • UK retail sales increased by 1.7% on a like-for-like basis from October 2015, when they had decreased 0.2% from the preceding year.
  • On a total basis, sales rose 2.4%, against a 0.9% increase in October 2015. This is the strongest growth since January, clearly ahead of the 3-month and 12-month averages, both at 1.1%.
  • Over the three-months to October, Food sales increased 0.1% on a like-for-like basis and 1.5% on a total basis, clearly ahead of the 12-month Total average growth of 0.6%.
  • Over the three-months to October, Non-Food retail sales in the UK rose 0.6% on a like-for-like basis and 0.8% on a total basis. This represents a pick-up versus September but remains below the 12-month Total average growth of 1.4%.
  • Over the three-months to October, Online sales grew 11.1% while In-store sales declined 1.3% on a Total basis and 1.5% on a like-for-like basis.

Helen Dickinson OBE, Chief Executive | British Retail Consortium

“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.”

Paul Martin, UK Head of Retail | KPMG

“It’s been a spooktacular month for retailers this October, with total sales up 2.4% 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.”

Food & Drink sector performance | Joanne Denney-Finch, Chief Executive | IGD

“Although there’s been widespread discussion about the possible return of food inflation after such a long run of falling prices, the tide has yet to turn, so the fourth consecutive month of sales growth is particularly encouraging for the grocery sector.

“After a strong spike in the run-up to Halloween, food retailers will also feel optimistic about Christmas. However, concern about inflation is definitely heightening, with 75% of shoppers expecting food prices to rise in the year ahead, up from 62% who felt this in September.”

Sector Performance: