The Office for National Statistics (ONS) revealed a 0.9% decline in retail sales for September, following a 0.4% rise in August 2023. Over the quarter, sales volumes dropped by 0.8% compared to the previous three months. Non-food store sales were particularly affected, with a 1.9% decrease in September, attributed to ongoing cost of living pressures and unseasonably warm weather. Clothing store sales volumes fell by 1.6% during the same period. Food store sales, however, saw a slight increase of 0.2% in September, following a 1.4% rise in August. Overall, total retail sales volumes were 2.5% lower than the pre-pandemic levels of February 2020.\r\n\r\nGfK's consumer confidence index in the UK decreased by nine points to -30 in October. This decline was reflected across all five measured categories. Changes in personal finances over the last year fell by six points to -19, an improvement from October 2022. Expectations for personal finances over the next 12 months also decreased by six points to -8, showing a 26-point increase from the previous year. Perceptions of the country's economic situation over the last 12 months dropped by seven points to -54, while expectations for the next year decreased by eight points to -32. The major purchase index fell by 14 points to -34, presenting concerns for retailers in the lead-up to Christmas.\r\n\r\nFrasers Group, led by Michael Murray, has further raised its stake in Asos, now holding 23% of the online retailer. This marks a series of investments by Frasers in various UK fashion retailers. The company has increased its holding in Asos multiple times throughout the year and presently holds 27,473,492 total voting rights. Additionally, Frasers recently acquired German sportswear retailer Sportscheck and increased its holding in Boohoo to 15.1%. Asos reported a 15% drop in sales in the three months ending September 3, prompting a downward revision of its full-year guidance.\r\n\r\nThe John Lewis Partnership has announced Paul Jones as its new head of brand and store experience, effective January 8, 2024. Jones, previously with Tesco for 12 years, including as head of brand and store design, will play a crucial role in developing customer strategy for both John Lewis and John Lewis Partnership brands. His responsibilities will include introducing new in-store experiences, events, and propositions with an omnichannel approach. This move aligns with the company's commitment to a long-term store strategy, emphasising the significance of in-store experiences for customers.\r\n\r\nProCook experienced a 1.8% decrease in revenue, totaling \u00a315.7m, in the second quarter of this year. This decline excludes the impact of ProCook's exit from Amazon EU last year, which led to a modest gain in UK market share. The company noted improvements in both its ecommerce and retail channels compared to the previous quarter, where like-for-like revenues were down by 7.9%. ProCook also observed a continued shift towards physical retail stores over the past two years. The results were buoyed by a strong summer sale performance in July and August, aided by favourable weather. However, trading in September and early October saw a softening, attributed to reduced footfall and traffic. Looking ahead, ProCook remains cautious about its FY24 outlook due to ongoing challenging market conditions.