Sales still fail to offset inflation

3rd March 2023 | Jack Oliver

Sales in February failed for the sixth month running to offset high rates of inflation, according to data from accountancy and business advisory firm BDO.

Despite a growth in total retail like-for-like sales of 6.4% compared to February 2022, a lack of discretionary spending from consumers sees volume sales continue to fall.

Online sales also fell by 1.2%, representing a preference for brick-and-mortar shopping for many consumers.

Like-for-like sales in the first week of February rose by 10.17%, followed by growth of 2.84% in the second. The third week of February, which included the spring half term and Valentines day, saw an increase of 10.24% in like-for-like sales. The end of the month saw like-for-like growth of 6.86%.

However, these increases still remained below the rate of inflation, which sat at just above 10% at the end of January.

Sophie Michael, Head of retail and wholesale at BDO, said: “In the short month of February, it’s positive to see total like-for-like figures increasing across the weeks. However, critically these figures simply do not absorb the high rate of inflation. 

“It’s interesting to see that in-store sales have again performed well across the month. In contrast, we have seen a fall in online sales in absolute monetary value leading to an even higher fall in volumes when factoring in inflation. This continued preference for a bricks and mortar experience instead of online points to shoppers not only making more considered purchases, but also perhaps avoiding costly postage and returns charges and further tightening their belts wherever they can.”


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