October retail sales slow online and offline

The British Retail Consortium has admitted that slowing online and offline retail sales are a reminder of “difficult economic realities”.

Online sales grew by just 7.3% in October – the second lowest in four years (this August saw growth of just 4.8%). Stephen Robertson, director general of the BRC, said: “That’s partly about disposable incomes being squeezed and people holding off making major purchases but also it’s inevitable growth will slow as online retailing matures and becomes established practice with a bigger proportion of shoppers… There is good news. Click and collect services are continuing to grow well. But retailers will be hoping that autumnal weather and thoughts of Christmas will start to translate into much stronger online spending soon”.

Across retail, footwear was the fastest growing category, followed by food, clothing, furniture and flooring and house textiles and health and beauty. But other non-food sales fell, while the home accessories category was also down.