Consumers looking for value for money says BRC

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Slump in February retail sales as customer seek out better deals.

The British Retail Consortium (BRC) has released data suggesting UK shoppers are increasingly basing their purchasing decisions on whether items deliver value for money.

Retail sales values fell 0.4 percent on a year like-for-like basis compared to February 2010 when sales had risen 2.2 percent, the latest BRC-KPMG retail sales monitor reveals.

On a total basis, sales were 1.1 percent higher, against a 4.5 percent increase in February 2010, but the latest figures are still regarded as the poorest improvement since May 2009.

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Consumers’ underlying uncertainty about jobs and incomes has resurfaced, impacting clothing, footwear and homewares in particular. The news comes at a time when pawnbrokers are instead seeing a steady rate of profit and growth.

Helen Dickinson, head of retail at KPMG, says February saw a continuation of the trend seen in the latter part of January, with struggling non-food sales highlighting consumers’ caution over the outlook.

“There is inflation in these numbers, so volumes are lower and with people making less shopping trips, fewer retailers are benefitting from the limited spending capacity available,” Dickinson said.

“Price, but more importantly value, has become an even higher decision-making criteria. Consumers are re-adjusting their spending habits to reflect the reduced disposable income in their pockets and the key question for retailers is whether they have finished yet” she added.

The survey also noted that internet, mail-order and phone sales growth fell further in February.

Sales were 10.4% higher than a year ago, slower growth than the 12.3% in January and the smallest gain since August 2009.

 

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