Consumers prefer stores for Easter, latest BRC-KPMG Retail Sales Monitor shows

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Online salees of Non-Food products in the UK grew 12.3% in March versus a year earlier, when it had risen by 12.8% over the previous year, according to the latest BRC-KPMG Retail Sales Monitor.

This month’s growth is the best since October 2014 and is in line with the 12-month average of 12.1%. In March 2015, online sales represented 17.6% of total Non-Food sales, against 16.9% in March 2014.

Furniture, a category which typically performs well at Easter, achieved its best performance since the inception of this monitor in December 2012 and was second fastest growing category online. This was followed closely by Toys & Baby Equipment which benefited from the school half term.

Online sales contributed 1.4 percentage points to the growth of Non-Food total sales in March. Thanks to the preference for store shopping over Easter, the three-month average contribution of stores to Non-Food growth exceeded that of online for the first time since August 2014.

Helen Dickinson, director general, British Retail Consortium, said: “Branded goods proved popular in March with consumers buying in the new ranges. With full price items whizzing off the online shelves this questions the view that people mainly shop online purely to get a bargain. We are seeing an interesting trend with brands seeking to be sold through retailers’ established high quality websites, leveraging their success with consumers.

“The steady advance of online sales and the continuation of a strong penetration rate is good for retailers with an online presence, considering people tend to spend more of their money on the high street in the run up to Easter. Furniture sales did particularly well reflecting consumer confidence in investing in big ticket items. As we move into Spring retailers will view March’s online figures as highly promising.’’

David McCorquodale, head of retail, KPMG, said: Good weather and the long Easter break saw shoppers choose shops over screens as they hit the high street and enjoyed the sunshine.

“Many retailers used this trend to their advantage, launching digital campaigns to drive footfall in stores by tempting shoppers in with emails promoting new ranges and money off vouchers.
This demand led approach proves that online and in store are simply two sides of the same coin for a successful retailer.”