United Kingdom


  • Service: Insights
  • Industry: Retail and Consumer Goods
  • Type: Press release
  • Date: 20/01/2012

Retail figures don’t tell the full story, says KPMG 


Helen Dickinson, head of retail at KPMG comments on the latest Retail Sales figures from the Office for National Statistics:


“These results are positive, but they do not paint an accurate picture of the current state of the retail sector.  Retailers achieved these sales through heavy and prolonged discounting and this has seriously damaged the health of the retail sector.  Margins have been hit so hard that retail health is widely considered now to be in a worse state than at the depths of the 2008 recession.  Today’s figures are also against December’s weak results, which saw sales badly affected by snow.


“As usual, we need to interpret the ONS retail sales figures with a level of caution, given the significant, usual and often inconsistent variations we have seen in this data in the past.


“Whilst the ONS say the value of retail sales increased by 6.2% in December 2011 compared with December 2010, these figures include fuel prices.  Take away the fuel and according to the ONS retail sales growth stands at 4.3%, which for the first time in some months, is actually consistent with data from other sources.  Food came out as the top sector performer, but clothing and footwear also had a strong month, following a difficult year.


“Serious challenges lie ahead for retailers and it seems certain that this level of demand will not continue as the year progresses.”






Notes to editors:


For press enquiries please contact


Zoe Sheppard, PR Manager at KPMG: +44 (0)117 905 4337 



About KPMG


KPMG LLP, a UK limited liability partnership, is a subsidiary of KPMG Europe LLP and operates from 22 offices across the UK with over 11,000 partners and staff.  The UK firm recorded a turnover of £1.7 billion in the year ended September 2011. KPMG is a global network of professional firms providing Audit, Tax, and Advisory services. We operate in 152 countries and have 145,000 professionals working in member firms around the world. The independent member firms of the KPMG network are affiliated with KPMG International Cooperative ("KPMG International"), a Swiss entity.  KPMG International provides no client services.