Retail sales climb but consumer confidence remains volatile

Commenting on the latest ONS retail sales figures and GfK’s consumer confidence measure, Linda Ellett, UK head of consumer markets at KPMG, said:

“It’s pleasing to see the tireless efforts of retailers rewarded in September’s retail sales data. The volume of sales climbed 1.5% on performance in August, marking a promising start to their all-important ‘golden quarter’ – and those fortunes weren’t just exclusive to food sales either.

“To be truly reaping these rewards though, consumer businesses have had to continually adapt to the new consumer that emerged from lockdown – whether that has entailed rethinking physical offering, or bolstering alternative channels like online. Indeed, the proportion of sales occurring online remains high at 27.5%, nodding to the likelihood that this consumer behaviour is here to stay.

“Success – or even survival in many circumstances – will largely boil down to how consumer businesses can navigate the ebbs and flow of regional lockdowns – certainly no easy task. The latest consumer confidence indicators point to another fall – with consumers feeling increasingly pessimistic – and that’s likely to shape purchasing decisions right across the Christmas trading period, including Black Friday.

“Now more than ever, consumer businesses must leverage whatever means they can to remain firmly on the radar of customers. They must cut through not only the noise created by their competitors, but also that of this pandemic too.”

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Notes to editors: 


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About KPMG

KPMG LLP, a UK limited liability partnership, operates from 21 offices across the UK with approximately 17,600 partners and staff.  The UK firm recorded a revenue of £2.40 billion in the year ended 30 September 2019.

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