October sales in seven-year high

Retail sales rose 3.8% on a like-for-like basis during October, reviving hopes that consumer confidence has improved in time for the festive period.

The BRC-KPMG Sales Monitor showed that total sales rose 5.9% over October last year, reporting the best October sales for seven years.

The British Retail Consortium warns that the figures compare to “dreadful” figures last year.

Food sales growth continued to slow while most non-food sectors saw improvements from last year’s figures.

Non-food non-store sales which include online, mail-order and telephone sales were up 18% on last year and showed an 11.9% improvement on September, despite postal strikes threatening online retail. The news that there will be no more strike action this year is expected to further boost online sales.

Stephen Robinson, director general of the British Retail consortium says: “Shops have already started to battle it out for Christmas with a string of promotions and discounts.”

Helen Dickinson, head of retail at KPMG adds that while “optimism is up,” the long-term outlook “remains considerably more challenging”.

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