UK retail sales slow as consumers turn to second-hand Christmas gifts


(Alliance News) – UK retail sales slowed in October as retailers brace for consumers to opt for pre-loved gifts and strict budgets this Christmas to cope with soaring bills .

Like-for-like retail sales in October rose 1.2% year-on-year, driven by inflationary pressures and masking lower sales volumes as shoppers purchased fewer items per visit, figures from the British Retail Consortium.

It came as separate figures from Barclaycard also showed card spending rose 3.5% last October – more than September’s 1.8% but well below the 8.8% rise consumer inflation.

The BRC-KPMG Retail Sales Monitor for October found total sales rose 1.6% in the month, compared to 1.3% in the same period last year.

This is below the three-month average of 1.7% and the 12-month average growth of 2.7%.

Sales in nearly every category online and in-store fell year-over-year as consumers adjusted to lower household incomes.

Furniture, food and health products saved the day on the high street as shoppers braced for colder days at home, but online retailers saw sales decline across all categories at the With the exception of furniture, consumers are more frequently heading to brick-and-mortar stores in search of bargains.

BRC chief executive Helen Dickinson said: “With the November Black Friday sales fast approaching, many people seem to be delaying spending, especially on larger purchases.

“Clothing and footwear, which saw stronger sales this year, declined as mild weather prevented customers from buying winter outfits. Meanwhile, electric blankets, air fryers and other Energy-efficient devices continued to soar as people searched for future cost savings.

“Christmas will arrive later than last year for many and could be darker than bright as families focus on the end of the month, particularly as mortgage payments rise.”

A poll by Barclaycard found that 48% of Britons plan to cut back on Christmas shopping, including festive activities and gifts, to save money this year.

Barclaycard, which sees nearly half of the country’s credit and debit card transactions, found that spending on essentials such as fuel and groceries rose 5.7% last October, more than 3.3% in September, reflecting the impact of rising inflation.

Spending on fuel rose 18% year-on-year, while shopping at supermarkets rose 4.6% as the cost of food continued to rise.

In response, 67% of Brits said they are looking for ways to cut costs, with 48% of these shoppers paying more attention to the prices of items they buy regularly, and the same percentage buying budget or branded products. own rather than branded products.

Some 44% opt for cheaper “fake” vegetables, and 26% only buy discounted or on-sale items.

Spending on utilities rose 36%, but was significantly lower than September’s 48% increase as households began receiving rebates from the government’s energy bill support scheme.

Barclaycard director Esme Harwood said: “Rising petrol and supermarket costs continue to bite, but Britons are spending less on energy bills as government support kicks in and people are finding ways to save at home.

“Consumers continue to trade big nights out for cozy nights out as they cut back on discretionary spending, while health and beauty and home improvements get a small boost.

“With the festive season approaching, we are likely to see further reductions as Britons rein in their Christmas spending.

“Consumers are taking a restrained approach to the festivities, seeking out pre-loved gifts and setting spending limits to manage their costs during this traditionally expensive time of year.”

source: AP

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