Buoyant sales helping to revitalise UK retail: BRC-KPMG

08 Jun '21
3 min read
Pic: Sean Lamb / Shutterstock.com
Pic: Sean Lamb / Shutterstock.com

Growing sense of consumer confidence, boosted by increase in vaccinations and testing, along with significant investment in safety measures by retailers, has resulted in buoyant UK retail sales in May 2021, which increased 23.7 per cent on a like-for-like (LFL) sales basis from May 2019, according to the latest BRC-KPMG Retail Sales Monitor.

Over the three months to May, in-store sales of non-food items declined 16.7 per cent on a total sales basis and increased 27.1 per cent on a Like-for-like sales basis. This is worse than the 2019 total sales average decline of 3.1 per cent. For the month of May, in-store non-food sales were negative, though much improved from previous months.

Over the three-months to May, non-food retail sales increased by 7.5 per cent on a total sales basis and 38.0 per cent on LFL sales basis. This is above the 2019 total sales average decline of 1.3 per cent. For the month of May, non-food was in growth year-on-year.

Online non-food sales increased by 39.1 per cent in May, against a growth of 1.5 per cent in May 2019. This is below the 3-month average of 64.4 per cent.

Non-food online penetration rate decreased to 39.8 per cent this May from 61.5 per cent in May 2020, but was up from 31.4 per cent in May 2019.

“Retail sales were buoyant in May thanks to the reopening of hospitality, coupled with the afterglow of non-essential retail’s own return. Pent-up demand for the instore shopping experience, as well as the first signs of summer weather, helped retail to the strongest sales growth of the pandemic. …Clothing and Footwear saw their second consecutive month of growth due to the warmer weather and easing of social restrictions. There is a growing sense of consumer confidence, boosted not only by the widespread uptake of vaccinations and testing, but also retailers’ own significant investment in safety measures," BRC chief executive Helen Dickinson said.

“The rain in May failed to dampen consumer demand and shoppers continued to return to the high street. Clothing retailers were the biggest beneficiaries of pent up demand, clocking up increases of over 100 per cent as an easing of restrictions saw stores reopen and social events slowly come back on the agenda. Consumers also splurged on new jewellery, footwear and home accessories, with sales registering triple digit growth against last year, when lockdown measures were in place.

"Although some spend has migrated to high street, there was still high penetration of online spending in May reinforcing the view that the pandemic has seen a step up in online activity as some consumers maintain their use of this channel out of habit and choice and some remain nervous about venturing back into stores," said Paul Martin, UK head of retail, KPMG.

Fibre2Fashion News Desk (RKS)

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