Retail sales increase in 2023 despite sluggish end to the year

9th January 2024 | Jack Oliver

Retail sales increased year-on-year in 2023, despite a decline in growth over the festive period.

In 2023, UK total retail sales increased by 3.6% from 2022, according to data from the BRC-KPMG Sales Monitor. During the year, food growth was 8.1% while non-food sales declined by 0.1%.

In December, total retail sales increased by 1.7%, compared to an increase of 6.9% in December 2022. This was below the three-month average growth of 2.3%, and fell short of the 12-month average growth of 3.6%.

During the three months to December, food sales increased by 6.8% on a total basis, whilst non-food sales decreased by 1.5%. On a year-on-year basis, food sales were in growth whilst non-food sales were in decline during the month.

Helen Dickinson OBE, chief executive of the British Retail Consortium, said: “The festive period failed to make amends for a challenging year of sluggish retail sales growth, as weak consumer confidence continued to hold back spending. The post-Christmas sales were unsuccessful in enticing spend in areas such as furniture and homeware, with households remaining cautious about making larger purchases. Sales saw a slight uptick in the week leading up to Christmas as consumers scrambled to purchase last minute gifts, particularly online, due to the wet weather. In gifting, beauty products were the standout performer, and toys and gaming also sold well.

“2024 looks to be another challenging year for retailers and their customers, and spending will continue to be constrained by high living costs. Retailers will also have to juggle various cost pressures, including the rise to business rates this April.”


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