October UK retail sales 'disappointing'

Worst sales growth for 11 months; September's sales revival a 'false dawn'.
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Overall UK retail sales dipped 0.1 per cent in October on a like-for-like basis compared to 2011.

Although total sales were up 1.1 per cent, the British Retail Consortium says this was the lowest growth in total sales since November 2011, excluding Easter.

The slowdown from last month was felt across all categories, including online sales.

Stephen Robertson, Director General, British Retail Consortium, said: "Unfortunately it looks like the modest sales revival we saw in September was something of a false dawn.

"And October's poor performance wasn't a one off. Year-to-date average growth hasn't outpaced inflation, meaning overall sales volumes are going backwards. Within that, October's online, non-food, results were especially poor. The last three months now include the two weakest growth rates we've recorded in four years. The disappointing figures are a reminder of the difficult economic realities many are still facing."

"Half-term fell later this year, so lower footfall translated into patchy performances across the categories. This underwhelming showing means there's all to play for as Christmas approaches."

David McCorquodale, Head of Retail, KPMG, added: "October's sales figures were like a disappointing firework - full of promise initially but eventually fizzing out with a whimper. 

"The recession may officially be over but it will take a little longer for consumers to feel they can spend freely again. Retailers are holding less stock than a year ago and may choose to be cautious with pre-Christmas sales in order to protect margins. 

"However, the disappointing sales figures for October indicate that winning share of the Christmas wallet will be just as competitive over the next two months as it was last year."

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