20 Sep 2018

Changeable weather affects seasonal sales figures for August

It was a bad month for clothing stores as the month of August cooled off from the unseasonably warm weather. However, the retail sales figures were offset by the increase in online sales, yet again.

The key findings from the statistics showed:

  • In August 2018, the quantity bought increased by 0.3% when compared with the previous month, with increases across all sectors except food, clothing and petrol.
  • The month-on-month growth rate in the quantity bought in food stores at negative 0.6% and clothing stores at negative 1.9% was offset by strong growth in other non-food stores at 2.8% and household goods stores at 4.5%.
  • In the three months to August, the quantity bought increased by 2% when compared with the previous three months, with continued growth across all sectors.
  • The last three months of summer from June to August 2018 saw an increase in the quantity bought at 3.4%, with food and household goods stores doing well in the warm weather when compared with the previous summer, while non-store retailing continued to show strong growth.
  • Spending online continued to increase to reach a new record proportion of all retailing at 18.2%; with strong growth in department stores also reaching a record proportion at 18.4%.

Phil Mullis, Partner and Head of Retail and Wholesale at leading accountancy firm, Wilkins Kennedy, said: “As the weather became more changeable, clothing retailers on the high street really suffered.

“Online sales continued to show strong growth and year on year, the sector has experienced an increase of 2%. It just goes to show that spend is gravitating towards online, as opposed to the high street.

“However, increases in quantity bought from the food and household sectors have kept the figures afloat. Maybe people are enjoying a final spending splurge as kids go back to school, and the Christmas season looms ahead of us. In which case, it will be interesting to see how personal debt figures will be impacted between now and the end of 2018.

“Retailers need to fine tune their multi-channel offerings if they haven’t already. It is more important than ever that retailers are prepared to cater for the changes in customer spending as we look towards the retail Golden Quarter."

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