Consolidated like-for-like UK retail sales edged up 0.4% during November

Consolidated like-for-like UK retail sales edged up 0.4% during November

Clothing and children's footwear boosted sales for UK retailers in November, according to figures released today (4 December).

Consolidated like-for-like retail sales edged up 0.4% during November, compared with the same month last year, the latest BRC/KPMG sales monitor noted. On a total basis, sales were up 1.8% against a 0.7% rise last year.

David McCorquodale, head of retail at KPMG, said an "interesting dynamic was the double digit increase in like-for-likes across clothing and in children's footwear during the first week of the month. "This perhaps reflects the strain on family finances as necessities are only bought in the immediate aftermath of the monthly payday."

BRC senior analyst Anne Alexandre said clothing and footwear experienced continued momentum, with winter ranges benefiting from the colder weather and nightwear, including all-in-one garments becoming more popular.

"A few "flash sales" run in November generated footfall but there is a general feeling that customers limit their buying to essentials. Even though consumer confidence increased by 8 points in November, shopping remained cautious with parents putting their children first: the children's segment outperformed men's while women's came third," said Alexandre.

"In women's, knitwear and outerwear performed best while denim and dresses didn't do so well. Seasonal accessories like scarves and tights are growing more than handbags, [which are] considered pricier."

Sales of children's footwear were up, primarily helped by the timing of half-term. "Men's lines outperformed women's again, albeit starting from a low base. The sale of boots was helped by the colder weather, benefitting retailers with a large boots range and popular styles. Fashionable brands, perceived as offering quality, were in demand. There was however a sense of a slowdown towards the end of the month," Alexandre added.

British Retail Consortium (BRC) director general Stephen Robertson said: "Overall, the emphasis continued to be on value with consumers looking at lower priced gifts. The same caution hit online sales, which delivered their third worst performance of the year.

"With consumers conscious that there will be a full shopping weekend immediately before Christmas, retailers are holding their nerve and counting on a last minute rush in the crucial final weeks."

Between September and November, total like-for-like retail sales climbed 0.7%, with non-food up 0.7%. On a total basis, sales rose 2.2%, while non-food sales were up 1.7%.