The latest figures on retail sales from BRC-KPMG’s monthly monitor paints a worrying picture for non-food retailers.

According to the industry barometer, non-food quarterly sales dropped last month for the first time since 2011 in what BRC chief executive Helen Dickinson dubbed “an undeniable trend.”

The impact of flagging consumer confidence has begun to take hold as shoppers tighten their purse strings on non-essential items.

However, online sales of non-food products continued to grow at pace and food purchases jumped on a quarterly basis.

Nevertheless, the decline in consumer spend in-store combined with rising rents and continued uncertainty around business rates may well be developing into the perfect storm for squeezed bricks-and-mortar retailers.

Two retailers that won’t be worried by the report are Aldi and Lidl, which now hold more than 12% of the hotly-contested British grocery market, according to data from Nielsen.

It wasn’t just the grocery sector that saw a shake-up today. Shoe Zone has appointed a new finance boss while Conviviality has poached Halfords’ people director.

And Secret Sales became the latest in an onslaught of retailers to announce redundancies, revealing that it would be axing “a number” of back-office staff just weeks after its sale to Excalibur Group.

Quote of the day

“Aldi and Lidl’s momentum continues due to new stores opening and the average shopper spending more – testament to the wider and higher quality of products available.”

– Nielsen UK’s head of retailer and business insight Mike Watkins.

Today in numbers


The number of stores Budgens will lose due to franchise partner Food Retailer Operations Limited falling into administration.


The rise in John Lewis’ weekly fashion sales

Friday’s agenda

Retail Week Live kicks off tomorrow so look out for coverage on all exciting developments there, as well as news on what the Budget holds in store for the retail sector.

Grace Bowden, Reporter