grocery sales surge
File Photo: Christopher Furlong/Getty Images

In September, UK retail sales decreased by 0.2 percent on a like-for-like (LFL) basis from September 2017, when they had increased 1.9 percent from the preceding year.

On a total basis, sales increased 0.7 percent in September, against an increase of 2.3 percent in September 2017. This is the lowest since October, excluding Easter distortions, and below the 3-month and 12-month averages of 1.2 percent and 1.3 percent respectively.

“After a challenging August, constrained consumer spending in September has resulted in the weakest sales growth for five months,” said Helen Dickinson, chief executive of the British Retail Consortium.

Over the three months to September, food sales increased 2.3 percent on LFL basis and 3.4 percent on a total basis, below the 12-month total average growth of 3.7 percent.

“The September food and grocery figures cemented the trend in late August for volumes to fall versus 2017, although with some inflation in the mix, sales value remained modestly in growth,” said Jon Woolven, strategy and innovation director at IGD.

“Shopper confidence has followed a downward path with those expecting to be financially better off over the year ahead dipping from 26 per cent in July to 22 per cent in September. Brexit related uncertainty probably plays a part in this, so retailers will be hoping for a clear resolution ahead of the Christmas shopping season.”

In-store sales of non-food items declined 2.7 percent on a total basis and 4.0 percent on a LFL basis over the same period. This is in line with the 12-month total average decline of 2.7 percent.

Non-food retail sales decreased 1.6 percent on LFL basis and 0.6 percent on a total basis, in line with the 12-month total average decrease of 0.5 percent.

“The non-food categories continued to disappoint. The historically reliable back-to-school push did not elevate apparel sales. Instead the latest tech launches were a rare source for optimism,” said Paul Martin, UK head of retail at KPMG.