U.K. Retail Sales Break Out of Nine-Month Slump

  • Same-store sales rise for first time since January, BDO says
  • Growth led by sales of homewares as fashion still lags behind

Britain’s retailers received a much-needed boost last month as sales grew for the first time since January.

Same-store sales rose 0.7 percent compared with October last year, business advisory firm BDO LLP said in its monthly report. Sales of home furnishings led the rebound, growing 11.6 percent.

The growth is welcome news for retailers, many of whom have endured a miserable year. In addition to unseasonable weather conditions, merchants have been battling against a growing tendency to splurge on leisure activities rather than on a new wardrobe. And things could get tougher, as Brexit-fueled inflation has begun to squeeze disposable incomes.

“Prices will inevitably rise next year in the context of the falling pound, but right now people are remarkably upbeat about their finances,” Sophie Michael, head of retail at BDO, said by email. “Retailers have a perfect window of opportunity to push full-price lines for the next few weeks and claw back their margins prior to Black Friday.”

  • Sales of lifestyle products such as electrical goods and outdoor equipment rose 2.3 percent
  • Fashion retailers continued to struggle, with sales dropping 0.9 percent amid unseasonably warm weather
  • Marks & Spencer Group Plc, the U.K.’s largest fashion retailer, reports results Nov. 8
  • Web sales rose 19.5 percent in October, BDO said
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