'Sales improve as outlook brightens', says BRC report

09 Mar 2021

Retail sales are on the up and the outlook is brightening, acccording to a new report from the British Retail Consortium (BRC).

The BRC-KPMG Retail Sales Monitor for February 2021 has been published. Key points include:

  • In February, UK retail sales increased 9.5% on a Like-for-like basis from February 2020, when they had decreased 0.4% from the preceding year. In February, Like-for-like has been measured excluding temporarily closed stores but including Online sales.
  • On a Total basis, sales increased by 1.0% in February, against a growth of 0.1% in February 2020. This is above the 3-month average growth of 0.6% and the 12-month average decline of 0.3%.
  • Over the three months to February, In-Store sales of Non-Food items declined 38.9% on a Total and 21.4% on a Like-for-like basis. This is better than the 12-month Total average decline of 31.4%. For February, the like-for-like excluding temporarily closed stores remained in decline.
  • Over the three months to February, Food sales increased 7.6% on a Like-for-like basis and 7.9% on a Total basis. This is higher than the 12-month Total average growth of 6.6%. For the month of February, Food was in growth year-on-year.
  • Over the three-months to February, Non-Food retail sales increased by 6.6% on a like-for-like basis and declined 5.5% on a Total basis. This is above the 12-month Total average decline of 6.1%. For the month of February, Non-Food was in decline year-on-year.
  • Online Non-Food sales increased by 82.2% in February, against a growth of 3.6% in February 2020. This is above the 3-mth average of 68.1% and the 12-mth average of 49.1%. Non-Food Online penetration rate increased from 30.8% in February 2020 to 60.6% this February.

Helen Dickinson OBE, Chief Executive, British Retail Consortium, said: “February saw a return to growth after a disappointing start to the year. The Prime Minister’s roadmap to reopening prompted a burst in spending on non-food items, such as school uniforms. Furthermore, with another month of lockdown still to go, online sales were high, rewarding the retailers who have invested digitally. Couples staying home for Valentine’s Day found themselves splashing out at their local supermarket, benefitting food sales. Meanwhile, the continued closure of so-called ‘non-essential’ retail has meant that non-food instore sales remained significantly down, underlining the importance of a successful reopening in April.

“While the uptick in sales is encouraging, many retailers are concerned about the months ahead. Many retail businesses will be hoping that customers will return to shops, and have spent hundreds of millions on making their premises Covid-secure, but previous reopenings have shown that demand can be slow to come back. Government has a vital role to play in building up consumer confidence across the country to power the spending-led recovery.”

Download the report here

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