Essential reading for retailers and suppliers in the home improvement market

Home, DIY and pet products see uplift in Q4

Published: 2 February 2011
Despite more than half of UK retailers reporting a lower performance compared with the previous year, DIY, cookshop and pet products stood out as the only sectors to see growth, according to the BHF-BSSA sales monitor.
Home, DIY and pet products see uplift in Q4
The Quarterly Sales Monitor revealed that 55% of retailers surveyed reported a lower performance in Q4, when compared with the same period last year. Wales was the worst-hit region posting a decline of 13%.

Scotland saw a decline of 9.1% in the quarter and recorded the worst performance in year-to-date figures, down 20.8%. The South West gave the strongest regional performance in Q4, with an increase of 1.5%.

The BHF Group and BSSA had an insufficient response from Northern Ireland in order to rate its performance in Q4 or over the year as a whole.

Pet products was the star sector in the last quarter, up 9.5%, followed by DIY and hardware, which jumped 3.2% in Q4. Cookshop and housewares also did well, recording a 2.5% increase in sales. The sector's year-to-date performance was even stronger, up 6.2%, while DIY and pet products were up 1.8% and 2.1% respectively.

The department store sector saw a 6.6% decline in Q4 but was up 3.3% overall in the year-to-date figures, while the furniture, floorcoverings, beds and soft furnishings sector dropped 2.5% in Q4 - a figure which remained fairly unchanged in the year-to-date results.

Commenting on the results, the BHF Group and BSSA said: "Staying warm and dry, keeping close to home, took precedence for consumers over hunting down seasonal treats or seeking to beat the VAT increase in a wintry December selling period. DIY, housewares and pet products all received warming winter increases... As the thermometer dropped so did the confidence index, with anxiety about the year ahead beginning to replace optimism."

60% of retailers surveyed admitted they were anxious about the year ahead, with 52% concerned that the VAT increase will have a damaging effect on sales. It appears the approaching VAT rise on January 4 did not yield a 'big-ticket sales boom' in the last quarter, with just 11% of retailers reporting an increase in sales as a result of the impending hike.

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