Food sales increase in August, as online sales drop

Food sales have continued to rise in August, according to new data.

The British Retail Consortium (BRC) and KPMG monthly sales monitor found that food sales increased by 2.9 per cent in the month of August compared to the same period last year.

But, this was below the 12-month average growth of 14.4 per cent as shopping habits return to normal.

“Food and drink sales in August were broadly flat on 2020’s performance, with some spending switching from retail back into the out-of-home sector,” Institute of Grocery Distribution (IGD) chief executive Susan Barratt said:

“Despite sales being limited by the dull weather, they were supported by staycations and the late summer Bank Holiday, which helped sales show a small amount of growth.”

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The BRC and KPMG report also found that non-food online sales dropped 4.6 per cent in August, with 38.3 per cent of sales now online compared to 42 per cent during the same month a year earlier.

Total retail sales managed to continue rising in August – up three per cent compared to a month earlier – but the speed of growth slowed significantly.

In July the rise was 6.4 per cent but experts suggest the pent-up demand building during the various Covid-19 lockdowns and restrictions is coming to an end.

The three per cent rise in sales last month was driven by formalwear, the BRC said, with workers returning to offices and the wedding season in full swing.

BRC chief executive Helen Dickinson added: “As post-lockdown pent-up demand has softened, the growth in retail sales we have seen over the past few months slowed for August.

“Nonetheless, we still saw growth above pre-pandemic levels, as people returned to stores in greater numbers.

“With wedding season in full swing and workers gradually returning to the office, formalwear was a strong performer.”

She concluded: “Additionally, the bank holiday weekend and back-to-school buzz contributed to a rise in non-food sales.

“While the online sales growth has begun to slow, it is still high when compared with pre-pandemic growth rates.”

with PA Wires

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