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Market Commentary

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​Weekly Retail & Leisure News - 17 November, 2014 ​​​​​​​

Total retail sales up 1.4% in October, as improving economy boosts Christmas trading prospects

According to the BRC, UK retail sales were flat in October on a LFL basis. On a total basis, sales were up 1.4%, against a 2.6% rise in October 2013. This was an improvement on the previous month and beat the three-month average growth of 1.0%. Non-Food reported growth of 2.8% over the three months to October 2014, underperforming its twelve-month average of 3.7%. With Christmas in their sights, retailers are launching their highly anticipated festive campaigns to connect with and inspire consumers to shop with them this year.

The amount of money spent over Christmas is forecast to rise 2.6% to a record £90.7bn this year, according to Verdict, as the improving economy makes shoppers feel better off. Christmas trading figures are predicted to be heavily influenced by the second Monday in December, referred to as Cyber Monday, potentially the most frantic day in the calendar for online Christmas shopping as consumers begin to fret about the clock running down for festive deliveries. A large amount of shoppers have embraced "click and collect" as a favourite method of shopping, which will help to drive an 8% increase of shop visits in the run up to Christmas, according to Springboard.

Elsewhere in the UK retail market, Asda has fallen into negative LFL territory, reporting a 1.6% fall in its third quarter, as the trading environment took its toll. The 1.6% decline in the 13 weeks to September 30 contrasted with a 0.6% uplift in the second quarter. Previously Asda had been the only one of the big four grocers to have reported positive growth. 

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