The Halloween festivities provided a small boost to retail sales across the UK but overall results remain mixed, according to a new report.
Figures from the British Retail Consortium (BRC) and KPMG's Retail Sales Monitor for October showed flat sales over the course of the month, compared to a 0.8 per cent rise during the same period 12 months earlier. Total sales had grown 1.4 per cent but were against a backdrop of a 2.6 per cent increase in October 2013.
Halloween did provide some respite for retailers with costumes and animation feature films for children selling well over the period. The BRC noted that despite a positive Halloween, food was continuing to disappoint. The sector was highlighted as the worst performing and saw a 1.4 per cent drop in sales over the past three months, adding to a 0.4 per cent drop over the course of the year.
It was a much more positive performance in the non-food sector, where sales grew by 2.8 per cent in the three-month period and 3.7 per cent in the past 12 months. As Christmas approaches many companies will be looking to take advantage of the high spending that traditionally comes with the time of year.
David McCorquodale, head of retail at KPMG, said: "Looking at these figures, most retailers will feel they were tricked rather than treated in October. Even the most experienced of shopkeepers could not have foreseen a heat wave at Halloween and most were left with sales which were flat at best."
Another factor that had contributed to flat sales over the course of October was unseasonably warm weather. When many stores are looking to roll out their winter merchandise they have been hampered by much warmer conditions than previously expected, thus not prompting customers to buy coats and scarves.