Homeware sales continue positive trend into 2020

Homeware retail sales delivered a positive start to 2020, up by 5.4% in January on last month, according to the latest figures from BDO.

The result means that total homeware like-for-like sales have been positive for 14 out of the last 15 months.

Detailed in BDO’s High Street Sales Tracker (HSST), instore like-for-like sales for homeware saw a ‘good boost’ of +8.9% compared to January last year. This month’s result marks the fifth consecutive month of positive like-for-like sales for in-store homeware.

As a whole, the HSST saw total in-store like-for-like sales increase by 5.7% in January, from a marginally negative base of -0.2% in January 2019, as the 2020s roared into life with the high street rallying following a challenging year.

Continued discounting and an end to the Brexit deadlock have resulted in the best month for in-store sales since January 2014.

Despite the impressive results, BDO warns this rebound is measured against one of the worst years on record. 2019 was the fifth consecutive year of falling sales for the high street, which resulted in the closure of more than 2,000 stores and the loss of 46,000 jobs.

Away from the high street, non-store sales continued to go from strength to strength, recording a +18.8% bounce on top of last year’s already healthy base of +19.1%.

Sophie Michael, National Head of Retail and Wholesale at BDO LLP, said: “Despite January being the best month in six years, this may be a false dawn in terms of a high street recovery. 

“Whilst like-for-like sales may be positive, other reports show that stock levels of retailers are high and buying orders have again fallen, which suggests that discounting once again is driving sales. Delaying a return to full pricing will ultimately impact on already paper-thin margins. With returns also unaccounted for, the true picture of January has yet to emerge.

“Bargain-hungry shoppers are continuing to acclimatise to increasingly lengthy sales periods, which stores are responding to with discounting still visible on the high street. February will show whether consumer confidence has got a toehold in some kind of recovery for retail.”