Essential reading for retailers and suppliers in the home improvement market

October sales best for seven years

Published: 10 November 2009
UK retail sales values up 3.8% compared with last year, boosted by mild weather and increase in consumer confidence.
October sales best for seven years
The 3.8% like-for-like increase in retail sales is compared with a 2.2% drop in October 2008. On a total basis, sales rose 5.9% against a 0.1% decline last October, according to the BRC-KPMG Retail Sales Monitor for October 2009. Non-food was up 2.6%, with most sectors up on last year's figures.

British Retail Consortium (BRC) director general Stephen Robertson commented: "These are encouraging results - the best like-for-like and total October sales growth since 2002. They are however compared to dreadful figures last year when the final three months were all negative."

He added: "With less than 50 days to go before Christmas. Retailers will be hoping improved consumer confidence will be sustained during the festive period and beyond. Shops have already started to battle it out for customers with a string of promotions and discounts. But 2010 has many uncertainties, including the likelihood of rising unemployment and tax increases."

DIY and gardening benefited from mild weather, with strong performances in garden care and tidying, sheds and maintenance. Heating also picked upon the more autumnal days in the month, while the don't move, improve trend continued to help indoor DIY.

Home accessories and house textiles sales both rose further above year-earlier levels, although the gains were measured against even larger declines last October, An improvement in consumer confidence and better housing market news, enticed shoppers to spend, although many purchases were still carefully considered. As a result, practical items and upgrades overtook sales of discretionary extras.

White goods showed good gains in October this year, especially in laundry and refrigeration. In smaller appliances, kitchen and floorcare were also strong.

After September's turnaround, sales growth in the furniture and floorcoverings sector fell back. However, stronger consumer confidence and signs or improvement in the housing market have made people more willing to spend, especially where they saw new ranges or good deals. Fitted kitchens, beds and upholstery did well for many.

Non-food non-store sales, including internet, mail order and phone sales, were 18% higher in October than a year ago, compared with 11.9% in September, suggesting that the Royal Mail strike didn't hit confidence, as retailers found alternative delivery methods.

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