Published on 14 - May - 2012
Independent DIY stores see like-for-like sales up 3.34% in Q1DIY and hardware selling members of the British Independent Retailers Association (BIRA) reported Q1 2012 sales were up by over 3% on Q1 2011, bettering the Q4 2011's +2.9% figure.
In its quarterly sales monitor for the period ending March 31, 2012, BIRA highlighted the positive contrast to retail giant B&Q's recent sales drop. Cookshop and housewares fared significantly worse, however, down 1.9% on last year and failing to carry through the sector's strong pre-Christmas jump of 5.9%.
It was a stunning result for BIRA's garden and horticultural machinery retailers, with a 12.45% growth on the previous quarter, up 6.65% on last year. Pet products enjoyed a more modest growth, with LfL sales up 0.84% on last year.
Big ticket items including furniture, floor coverings and beds were up 8.60% on last year, a rate of growth second only to cards, stationary, crafts and hobbies (+26.48%).
The overall picture was a happy one for the association, marking its second positive quarter in a row and highest quarterly increase since the survey began in 2007. The survey represented nearly 200 businesses, and more than half reported that they were now feeling confident about the times ahead.
BIRA's deputy chief executive Michael Weedon said: "The independent sector never ceases to amaze. While the number of shops n towns run by multiples fell last year, the number of independents grew - and by more than the drop in multiples.
"Now, as the ONS announces that recession has returned, with two quarters of negative growth, independents produce two quarters of positive growth. This is important: if the government really wants to nurture our towns and for retail to produce jobs and growth then the answer is right here, with the independents."
He added: "It is really good to see that the Optimism/pessimism index has also ticked up, with over 56% of retailers now optimistic about the year ahead, of which approaching 5% describe themselves unequivocally 'very confident' about the prospects for trade."
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