Rising food prices drive sales growth in November

Ieuan Hughes

Total food sales increased by 4% during the three months to November on the back of rising prices, according to the latest BRC–KPMG sales monitor.

Over the three-month period total food sales were at their highest 12-month average since March 2013, while like-for-like sales rose by 2.3%.

Overall UK retail sales grew by 0.6% in November compared to the previous year, with much of the growth driven by food sales. Non-food retail sales decreased by 1.2% on a like-for-like basis, below the 12-month total average of 0%.

The online sales penetration rate increased from 26.3% in October 2016 to 27.4% in October 2017, the highest on record. 

British Retail Consortium chief executive Helen Dickinson said: “November brought relief as growth in retail sales perked up after last month’s dip. Black Friday, the big retail event of the month, failed to fundamentally shift underlying trends in spending. Food sales were responsible for pretty much all the growth this month as higher prices continue to absorb more of the weekly shopping budget. Non-food sales - the focus of Black Friday – fell, as the squeeze on household incomes continues to impact discretionary spend.”

IGD chief executive Joanne Denney-Finch added: “This reporting period, spanning from Halloween to Black Friday, is increasingly vital for retailers in its own right and not just as the precursor for Christmas. Grocery retailers will therefore be pleased that the robust sales trend continued throughout November.

“It has been a good year so far for grocery sales, although the final verdict hinges on the four weeks still to come. Christmas shopping could be a bit more spontaneous this year given that 60 per cent of shoppers say they usually end up buying unplanned products at this time, up from 53%  in 2016.”

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