Press releases

Deloitte comments on ONS retail sales

14 November 2019

Commenting on today’s ONS retail sales figures, Ian Geddes, head of retail at Deloitte, said:

“October’s retail sales values and volumes, excluding fuel, each fell -0.3% respectively, compared to last month. However, compared to the same period last year figures were more positive, up +3.2% and +2.7%, as consumers were drawn to higher-than-average levels of discounting offered by retailers. For department stores in particular, October’s sales performance were the best since May 2018.

“A wet October will have been countered by greater discounting seen recently, as retailers enticed consumers in store with the start of autumn sales and attracting the early bird by introducing Christmas product lines early. Whilst overall sales performance is good news for retailers in what is a challenging retail environment currently, we have also seen some of the highest levels of discounting on the high street for this time of year.

“Household goods were the worst performers, down -3.7% year-on-year and -1.3% month-on-month. This shows that falling consumer confidence in the third quarter, amidst ongoing Brexit uncertainty, is still impacting major purchases. Promotional days in the lead up to Christmas are key dates in the retail calendar, as consumers make early gift purchases as well as treat themselves. The question is whether this could point to even bigger discounts for Black Friday and Cyber Monday, particularly for big ticket items.

“Online sales have continued to grow this month (+8.8% from September), now accounting for 19.2% of total sales. That said, many retailers will be hoping for higher footfall in stores through November and December, so the role of the physical store remains important. Capturing the magic of Christmas via the in-store experience could hold the key for a successful Golden Quarter for retailers.”


Notes to editors

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