DIY knocked off top spot thanks to flatscreen TVs
The popularity of flat panel televisions, sparked by the football World Cup, has pushed electrical goods ahead of DIY as the fastest growing retail sector this year for the first time since 1995.

This was the main finding from the latest study of the retail market by Verdict Research, which concluded that consumer spending on electrical goods would increase by 4.6 per cent to£23.7 billion, compared with just 2 per cent growth last year.

Verdict Research senior analyst Alistair Lockhart said: 'Flat panel TV is undoubtedly the star of this year for electrical retailers. Many consumers used the World Cup as an excuse to upgrade ageing TV equipment and, despite a lull immediately after the event, sales have picked up, continuing to exceed expectations.'

He added that strong demand would continue into next year, due to increasing availability of high-definition TV transmissions and the fact that barely over 10 per cent of households owned a flat-panel TV.

Verdict said that sales of digital music and video players had held up well and that the market next year would be boosted by the introduction of the next generation of MP4 players.

The research also highlighted a growing trend for non-electrical specialists, such as Woolworths and Next, to try to enter the sector.

However, Lockhart urged caution and said that electrical goods is 'not a sector for the faint-hearted', due to its history of thin profit margins and harsh price deflation.