Belfast Telegraph

Consumers 'opt for experiences over purchases'

By Ben Woods

British retailers have seen growth in non-food sales hit a record low, as consumers opt for experiences over shopping sprees ahead of the Christmas season.

Figures from the British Retail Consortium (BRC) and KPMG showed sales of non-food items grew by 0.2% in the year to October - the lowest reading since records began in January 2011.

The slump came amid a dismal month for retailers, with like-for-like retail sales dropping 1% in October after rising 1.7% over the same period last year.

Total sales also struggled, slipping 0.2% last month to the lowest level since May.

Helen Dickinson, BRC chief executive, said: "It was a meagre month in October for retail sales as shopping activity slumped.

"With total growth at its lowest since May and below the 12-month average, retailers will have cause for concern as they prepare for the crucial run-up to Christmas. The decline was driven by the worst performance of non-food sales since our records began in January 2011, as consumers appear to have opted for outdoor experiences and excursions during half-term, over visits to the shops."

Belfast Telegraph

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