Press release

19 Apr 2024 London, GB

EY comments on today’s ONS retail sales figures for March 2024

After a challenging start to the year, retail sales remained flat in March. Silvia Rindone, EY UK&I Retail Lead comments on the latest ONS figures.

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Silvia Rindone, EY UK&I Retail Lead comments:

"After a challenging start to the year, retail sales remained flat in March after an increase of 0.1% in February.

“Easter did not bring the increase in sales that retailers were hoping for, with sales volumes and values remaining relatively unchanged for a second month. Non-food stores saw sales volumes rise by 0.5%, while food stores and non-store retailers saw a fall of 0.7% and 1.5%.

“As we head into the summer months, retailers are hoping for a turning of the tide as consumer confidence grows.”

“The latest EY Future Consumer Index report found that consumers are becoming increasingly savvy about the value they seek, which transcends price considerations to encompass overall value for money, for example, the recent cost-of-living crisis, saw a significant portion of consumers shift towards private label products. However, as food inflation starts to ease, the price gap between private label and branded products will narrow, which is leading some consumers to revert to branded goods which often provide more innovative ranges.

“Retailers must become attuned to these strategic shifts and, to maintain their appeal, private label products must continue to offer clear price advantages. They also need to ensure they are transitioning to growth, rather than continuously focusing on pricing, ensuring there is a theme of continuous improvement, rather than one-off transformation.”