Press releases

Deloitte comments on ONS retail sales

17 December 2021

Commenting on today’s ONS retail sales figures, Oliver Vernon-Harcourt, head of retail at Deloitte, said:

“November saw retail sales ramp up as the ‘Golden Quarter’ got into full swing, pushing sales values and volumes up month-on-month by 2.3% and 1.4%, respectively.

“Consumers took advantage of discounts on toys, clothing, and other festive items. Black Friday events drove spending as consumers picked up early Christmas deals, with clothing sales above pre-pandemic levels for the first time. No longer a one-day shopping extravaganza, for those retailers participating the promotional period typically stretched across more than a two-week period.
“Elsewhere, despite a big appetite for Christmas after lost celebrations last year, food sales volumes fell again month-on-month.

“Online sales in November continued to fall from a peak in February 2021, accounting for 26.9% of all retail sales. However, more consumers may be inclined to shop online as we get closer to Christmas to avoid busy or crowded areas given concerns around rising COVID-19 infection rates. Whilst we don’t yet know how in-store footfall will be impacted, a drop from usual levels for this time of year could cause headaches for bricks-and-mortar retailers. Those with strong online platforms may find themselves more resilient to any changes in consumer behaviour. Staff shortages are also threatening the retail sector as more and more workers are needing to self-isolate.

Much will weigh on consumer confidence remaining strong throughout the winter months, with supply chain issues, inflation and further COVID restrictions all posing the risk of disrupting consumer and retailer behaviours. Retailers may find that, as end-of-season discounting begins, self-gifting could buoy overall retail sales into the New Year.”

-ENDS-

Notes to Editors

About Deloitte

In this press release references to “Deloitte” are references to one or more of Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited (“DTTL”) a UK private company limited by guarantee, and its network of member firms, each of which is a legally separate and independent entity. Please see deloitte.com/about for a detailed description of the legal structure of DTTL and its member firms.

Deloitte LLP is a subsidiary of Deloitte NSE LLP, which is a member firm of DTTL, and is among the UK's leading professional services firms.

The information contained in this press release is correct at the time of going to press.

For more information, please visit www.deloitte.co.uk.

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