UK retail sales hit hard by fuel shortages and rain – Retail Technology Innovation Hub
September saw the slowest retail sales growth since January, when the UK was stranded due to the Covid-19 outbreak, according to research from the BRC and KPMG.
On a total basis, sales increased 0.6% compared to growth of 5.6% in September 2020. This is lower than the three-month average growth of 3.1% and the 12-month average growth of 9.8%.
September has traditionally been a good time of year for UK retailing as it is back to school month.
But there are signs that consumer confidence is being affected by fuel shortages. Combined with wetter weather, this had an impact in the second half of the month, with a bigger effect on big purchases such as furniture and household items.
In-store shopping gained ground and sales growth continued to strengthen for footwear and fashion, especially formal wear with many workers returning to the office this fall.
While online sales were down from the previous year, they remain significantly above pre-pandemic levels
“An uncertain environment and slower growth mean that the fourth quarter is shaping up to be difficult as the economic recovery depends on strong retail sales during the holiday season,” said Helen Dickinson, Managing Director of the British Retail Consortium.
“Retailers, farmers and manufacturers are already gearing up to make sure enough food and festive gifts are flowing through the supply chain in time for Christmas. Unfortunately, the lack of drivers hinders these preparations and increases costs, which will ultimately result in higher prices. “
She concludes: “Retailers are working hard to recruit and train thousands of new UK drivers, but in the meantime the government urgently needs to expand its visa program to fill the shortfall of 90,000 drivers.”
“Without quick action, customers are faced with disruption and frustration this Christmas. “