The BRC said that for the three months to November, UK non-food retail sales were flat at 0.0% on a total basis and decreased 0.4% on a like-for-like basis. This is below the 12-month total average growth of 3.0%. For the month of November, non-food was in growth year-on-year.
Over the three months to November, in-store sales of non-food items increased 2.2% on a total basis and 1.6% on a like-for-like basis since November 2021. This is below the 12-month growth of 26.6%.
Online non-food sales decreased by 0.4% in November, against a decline of 17.9% in November 2021. This is above the three-month average decline of 3.1% and the 12-month decline of 12.3%.
The non-food online penetration rate decreased to 46.1% in November from 48.9% at the same point last year.
Helen Dickinson OBE, chief executive, British Retail Consortium, said: “Sales picked up as Black Friday discounting marked the beginning of the festive shopping season. However, sales growth remained far below current inflation, suggesting volumes continued to be down on last year. As the weather began to turn, customers were quick to purchase winter warmers, such as coats, hot water bottles, and hooded blankets.
“Despite facing huge cost pressures, retailers are doing all they can to keep prices affordable for all their customers. But, the cost of living crisis means many families might dial back their festive plans. Yet, with three weeks to go, there is still plenty of time for the Christmas cheer to bring sales home this Christmas.”
Paul Martin, UK head of retail, KPMG, added: “Black Friday bargains saw retail sales grow by over 4% in November and was a much-needed boost both on the high street and online.
“Household appliances, footwear and furniture saw positive sales growth both in-store and online as consumers sought out good deals on designer items and started to prepare for Christmas gatherings at home. However, some categories such as toys, computing and baby equipment have now seen several months of negative sales figures that even the festive boost has not been able to reverse.
“As we enter the last crucial few weeks of the year, retailers will be hoping that consumers continue to focus on the Christmas feel-good factor. For some struggling retailers hit hard as consumer confidence and spending declines, and costs continue to rise, the next few weeks could be critical to their survival. Retailers are well aware that in the current environment it is a battle to attract and retain every customer. Given the economic headwinds for the year ahead, with consumer behaviour expected to evolve further as shoppers look to trade down and purchase less, understanding and meeting customer needs will be mission critical for retailers, and it’s a job that keeps getting harder.”
At the end of last month, McKinsey’s State of Fashion 2023 report suggested the global fashion industry is headed for a slowdown over the next year with supply chain pressures, the Ukraine war and rising inflation all creating a bleak picture.