Retail sales fell 0.4% on a like-for-like basis as Black Friday promotions failed to bring an expected boost to sluggish November spending.
Here is a closer look at how each sector performed on a total sales basis in the month to November 30, according to the BRC-KPMG Retail Sales Monitor.
Food – down
Mild weather held off purchases of wintry foods, although alcohol sales saw a strong uplift at the end of the month thanks to the appearance of festive deals. Total food sales for the month declined year on year, although figures remained positive at 0.1% over the three months and 0.3% over 12 months.
Clothing – down
The unseasonal weather continued to stall sales of winter clothing meaning the month got off to slow start, but promotional activity around Black Friday encouraged shoppers to start buying. Overall, clothing saw a decline across the month although sportswear, party tops and nightwear performed well, as did men’s clothing, which was the only segment to show growth.
Footwear – down
Once again, the warm autumn weather held back sales of wintry items, such as boots, although promotional activity did eventually kick start sales. However, deep discounting in November last year, particularly during Black Friday week, meant the category could not achieve like-for-like growth. The men’s footwear segment saw the fastest growth.
Health and beauty – up
November got off to a strong start with beauty sales riding high on the back of Halloween, while Black Friday promotions helped both footfall and online traffic meaning it also ended on a strong note. The category saw its online penetration reach an all-time record across the month and indeed, if online sales were excluded, it would have declined
Furniture – up
Once again furniture was the best performing category across the month but also on a three-month and 12-month rolling average basis. Demand was strong across all segments of the category, although sofas and beds performed particularly well.
Home accessories – up
While the category reached third in the growth rankings table and was helped by strong demand for fireworks across bonfire night and Diwali, and also in the lighting segment, there is a feeling among retailers that the category, which covers Christmas decorations, is slightly behind where it should be.
House textiles – up
The lack of cold weather contributed to a slow November overall, as customers held off purchasing warmer duvets.
Toys and baby equipment – down
Deep discounting took its toll on the sector as promotions aimed at bringing in customers contributed to the decline in sales. The category retained second position on a rolling 12-month basis.
Household appliances – up
Despite facing a very strong comparable from November 2014, the category achieved the second position in growth rankings for the month. Small and large appliances both benefited from Black Friday deals across the month but particularly in the last week.
Jewellery and watches – up
The jewellery and watch sector also faced a very strong comparable from last November and, despite continuing to grow across the month, it saw its second lowest growth year to date.