Home entertaining delivers sales boost

Home accessories and furniture saw the largest sales increase in March as shoppers looked to entertain at home.

According to the British Retail Consortium/ KPMG the value of retail sales rose by 5.1% in March, up from 3.1% in 2022. 

‘High street retailers saw some limited growth across most categories in March but as consumers cut back on eating out, spending on home comforts, accessories and furniture saw the biggest growth with people looking to entertain at home instead. Online retailers also benefited from the boost in sales of home items but saw continued decline in sales across most other categories, particularly clothing,’ says Paul Martin, KPMG UK head of retail.

‘Many retailers will have been disappointed with overall sales growth of just 5% in March, against a backdrop of rising inflation running at more than 10%. As the difficult economic conditions continue, retailers will be hoping that April prompts consumers to look for some comfort in Easter treats and the sun starts to shine, forcing replenishment of summer wardrobes.’

‘While the wettest March in more than 40 years dampened sales growth for fashion, gardening and DIY products, Mother’s Day brightened up sales for the month. Stores were given an extra boost, as last-minute shoppers dashed to their local high streets and shopping centres to purchase jewellery, fragrances and flowers. With consumer confidence edging up and big events on the horizon such as the King’s coronation, retailers have reasons for a spring in their step. However, extensive cost pressures on business remain and the government must ensure it minimises incoming regulatory burdens. Unless these future costs are brought to a heel, we will likely see high inflation continue for UK consumers who already face rising household bills from this month,’ says Helen Dickinson, BRC chief executive.

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