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WFH drive online sales boost

Online shoppingWorking from home continue to drive consumer spending in August.

Retail sales climbed in the month as shoppers spent more money online, but city centre stores continued to suffer, according to the latest BRC-KMPG Retail Sales Monitor.

It found that total UK retail sales increased by 4.7% on a like-for-like basis and 3.9% on a total basis compared with August 2019. to the same month a year earlier.

‘Despite another month of growth in August, retail sales remain down overall since the start of the pandemic. Remote working has continued to help sales in home goods, such as food, computing, furniture and TVs. Meanwhile, city centre retailers continue to be devastated by low footfall and poor sales, as office workers stayed away for yet another month,’ says Helen Dickinson, BRC chief executive.

Over the three months to August, in-store sales of non-food items were 17.8% lower and on a like-for-like basis they fell 8.5%. However, total non-food retail sales increased by 7.7% per cent on a like-for-like basis and 1.4% on a total basis, as online sales jumped 42.4%.

‘We continue to experience mixed fortunes and not all retailers are where they should be at this point in the year. Fashion sales did start to rebound somewhat – at least online – although this was mainly driven by children’s back-to-school purchases Likewise, the focus on home-related products, including furniture and computing equipment, continued – no doubt aided by many consumers remaining mostly at home,’ says Paul Martin KPMG head of UK retail.