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Retail sales slow in September, warm weather impacts fashion

By Rachel Douglass


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Princess Street, Manchester, UK. Credits: Unsplash.

UK retail sales slowed over the past month, as the cost of living crisis continues to ravage the nation and warmer weather impacted the sales of autumn clothing stock.

Over the five weeks spanning August 27 to September 30, total retail sales increased 2.7 percent, only slightly up from the 2.2 percent in the same period last year.

Non-food sales took a 1.2 percent hit over the three-months to September, coming below the 12-month average growth of 0.6 percent.

While in-store sales increased 0.3 percent since September 2022 – still below the 12-month average growth of 3.2 percent – online sales decreased 3.6 percent for the month, against the prior decline of 2.6 percent.

In a release, Helen Dickinson, CEO of the British Retail Consortium (BRC), which reported the figures, and Paul Martin, UK head of retail for the KPMG, linked the results to high cost of living and warmer weather.

In his own statement, Martin said: “Food and drink, and health and beauty continue to be the strongest performing categories on the high street, whilst a growing number of categories including clothing, fell into negative territory over September as the unseasonal warm weather delayed trips to the shops to stock up on winter wardrobe purchases.

“Online sales growth continued to fall, with just health, beauty and jewellery recording positive sales growth. September signals the 26th month of continuous online sales decline and retailers will be hoping for a strong Black Friday in order to turn the tide.”