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Retail sales creep up in October as Christmas shopping starts early

Tom Bottomley
09 November 2021

Christmas shopping appears to have started early with total retail sales up 1.3% year-on-year in October, and up 6.3% on the same month in pre-pandemic 2019, as social calendars start “filling up” and fashion, footwear and beauty sales pick up pace.

Over the three-months to October, non-food retail sales increased by 1.8% on a total basis and decreased by 0.1% on a like-for-like basis, but in-store sales of non-food items grew 7.9% on a total basis and increased 4.5% on a like-for-like basis, signalling UK consumers hitting the shops for early Christmas presents, according to the latest data from the BRC-KPMG Retail Sales Monitor.

Helen Dickinson, Chief Executive of the British Retail Consortium, said: “Customer demand is getting back on track ahead of Christmas as sales grew at a faster rate than the month prior, and well above its pre-pandemic levels. As social calendars started filling up with festivities, clothing and footwear sales performed well.

“Some people started their Christmas shopping early with beauty advent calendars flying off the shelves and searches for Christmas items ramping up online.

Retailers are hopeful that demand will continue right through the golden quarter, however, there are challenges ahead with higher prices on the horizon compounded by the many increasing costs faced by consumers such as higher energy bills and rising national insurance.”

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