September is set to be the real test for retailers across the country this quarter, KPMG’s head of UK retail has said.
Reflecting on the retail sales figures for July, Paul Martin expects consumer anxiety to rise as the furlough scheme comes to an end.
He explained: “The release of pent up demand continued in July, with total retail sales growing at 3.2% compared to the same month in 2019. Fortunes were heavily polarised though, and fashion sales continued to suffer despite the summer weather – even online.
“While social distancing restrictions have eased and our daily lives have started to return to a degree of normality, shoppers are still focussed on life at home for the most part. Online sales continue to remain prominent – accounting for over 40 per cent of sales – while food and home focussed categories like furniture, homewares and kitchen accessories remained among the strongest performers. With many of us continuing to work from home, sales of computing equipment soared too.”
Adding: “September will be the real test for retailers this quarter, traditionally being a month of high volumes driven by the return to school after the holiday season. That said, with the furlough scheme unwinding and wider economic uncertainty set for the autumn, consumer anxiety will likely rise along with it. This will place more scrutiny on disposable income and make life even tougher for retailers.”