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BRC: Shoppers 'taken a little bit of a pause' in February

British consumers have taken "a pause" in their spending this February, after deals flooded the High Street during Christmas and the January sales, experts have said.

Helen Dickinson, director general of the BRC, explained:

Retailers created an exceptional and successful promotional period this January, but having taken advantage of those deals, some consumers have taken a little bit of a pause in their shopping in February.

Reform will help high street retailers invest in their offer and attract more people out to the shops, supporting local jobs and benefiting the wider economy.

– Helen Dickinson

Welsh High Streets suffered 'worst performance'

The number of shoppers through the doors of High Street shops fell by 8.8% in February, according to the British Retail Consortium.

  • Northern Ireland and the South East came in second, with a 5.1% drop each.
  • The West Midlands saw a 4.6% decline.
  • Scotland reported a 4.1% drop.

Read: High Street shoppers 'slump to lowest in a year'

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High Street shopping slumps to 'lowest in a year'

The number of shoppers walking through the doors of High Street shops has slumped to its lowest level in a year, the British Retail Consortium has found.

Read: Shop vacancies fall but north-south divide widens

Sales
January sales were behind the spike in shoppers at the beginning of the year, the BRC said. Credit: PA

Read: 'One in five' non-food items bought online at Christmas

The trade association blamed wet weather and tight, post-Christmas budgets for the low numbers.

Retail footfall slumped by 5.3% across high streets in February - the worst result since March 2013.

However, the number of shoppers only fell by 2.9% across the entire retail sector but this was a reversal of the 1.6% hike reported in January due to the clearance sales.

Diane Wehrle, retail insights director at Springboard, said: "It is clear that the exceptionally rainy weather in February impacted on our retail destinations."

Read: Prices slashed at fastest rate for seven years over Christmas

Retailers will feel 'heartened' by latest sales figures

KPMG head of retail David McCorquodale says aside from grocers, retailers will feel "heartened" by post Christmas sales figures.

Other than the grocers, retailers will feel heartened by these post-Christmas figures.

The divide between food and non-food is stark, with the battle for market share in food remaining ferocious, customer loyalty fickle and cost deflation being passed through to the consumer.

– KPMG head of retail David McCorquodale

Retail figures show strongest sales growth since 2010

Constant downpours failed to put off shoppers last month as retail industry figures published today pointed to the strongest sales growth since March 2010.

Retail industry figures published today pointed to the strongest sales growth since March 2010. Credit: Press Association

The British Retail Consortium (BRC) and KPMG said total sales in January rose 5.4% on a year ago as improved job prospects and the recovery in the housing market led to a strong month for homewares and furniture businesses.

However it was not all good news across the sector, with grocers again squeezed by very low levels of sales growth.

Sluggish retail sales show recovery is a 'relentless slog'

David McCorquodale, head of retail at accountants KPMG, who sponsored today's retail sales survey by the British Retail Consortium said the poor figures show Britain's economic recovery is a "slow, relentless slog".

October was another difficult month for retailers, reminding us that recovery is a slow, relentless slog.

Whilst the summer months hinted at increased consumer confidence, retailers will struggle to maintain a sustained sales recovery until wage growth outpaces price inflation.

– David McCorquodale, head of retail at KPMG

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Poor clothing sales impacts British retailers

October saw clothing sales plunge amid unseasonably warm weather, according to figures from the British Retail Consortium (BRC) and KPMG.

Britain's beleaguered retailers struggled to pick up sales last month.
Britain's beleaguered retailers struggled to pick up sales last month. Credit: PA

Despite being hot on the heels of four fashion weeks, good weather kept October shoppers from buying autumn fashions - making clothing the only retail category in decline that month.

A like-for-like rise of just 0.8% compared to a bleak period last year has left firms relying on a "bumper Christmas".

Read: Christmas shopping wars

High street hopes for further growth in retail sales

Summer sales improved the retail figures in June
Summer sales improved the retail figures in June Credit: Jonathan Brady/PA Wire

This month's retail sales figures will be released by the Office of National Statistics later, with the high street hopeful that the growth they have experienced over the past few months continues.

The British Retail Consortium says that many shops hope for a fourth consecutive month of growth.

The birth of Prince George, a heatwave and summer discounts have all been attributed to a rise in sales figures over the past few months.

Read: British heatwave boost retail figures in July

Store discounts give the high street a sales boost

Offers and discounts have tempted shoppers into stores giving the high street a sales growth in May, figures have shown.

Online spending helped businesses to shift stock left over during a weather-hot slump the previous month, meaning like-for-like sales were up 1.8% on the same period in 2012.

Sales boost for may, following a slump in April Credit: Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire

Consumers opted to invest in home improvement with sofas, flat-packs and bedroom furniture leading the way.

The figures from the British Retail Consortium (BRC) come after April saw sales fall at their fastest rate for a year.

Read: Retail rise as poor weather hinders fashion sales

Clothing and footwear suffer from March cold weather

The coldest March in 50 years boosted sales for food and drink, while clothing and footwear retailers endured a "dismal" month, The British Retail Consortium (BRC) found.

It is thought the cold weather encouraged an appetite for hearty meals, with food sales up as families enjoyed themselves over Easter.

A shopper carrying shopping bags on Oxford Street, London Credit: Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire

According to the BRC, sales grew by 1.9% in March on a like-for-like basis, weaker than February's 2.7% surge.

The organisation said: "2013 has got off to an encouraging start for the market as a whole. Retailers are now hoping for a boost in consumer confidence and the general mood to lift performance across all, not just some sectors, as we head into the second quarter."

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