Retail sales declines in June dragged the 12-month average increase to the lowest since records began as BRC boss Helen Dickinson warns of a “bleak” sector outlook.
On a total basis, retail sales fell 1.3% in the month to June 29, against an increase of 2.3% the previous year, while like-for-like sales decreased 1.6% year on year, down from a 1.1% uplift the previous year, according to the BRC-KPMG Retail Sales Monitor.
This weak comparable performance dragged the sector’s three-month average to a decline of 0.1%, while the 12-month average increase was stifled to 0.6%, the lowest since records began in December 1995.
Non-food sales fell 2.1% overall and were down 2% on a like-for-like basis, exacerbated by 4.3% and 4.1% slumps in overall in-store non-food sales and like-for-like sales respectively.
This marked the worst quarterly decline in non-food sales since February 2009 and was below the average 12-month decrease of 0.8%.
On a three-month basis, food sales increased 2.4% overall, above the 12-month average of 2.2%, and were up 1.5% in like-for-like terms.
BRC chief executive Helen Dickinson said: “June sales could not compete with last year’s scorching weather and World Cup, leading to the worst June on record. Sales of TVs, garden furniture and BBQs were all down, with fewer impulse purchases being made.
“Overall, the picture is bleak: rising real wages have failed to translate into higher spending as ongoing Brexit uncertainty led consumers to put off non-essential purchases.
“Businesses and the public desperately need clarity on Britain’s future relationship with the EU. The continued risk of a no deal Brexit is harming consumer confidence and forcing retailers to spend hundreds of millions of pounds putting in place mitigations – this represents time and resources that would be better spent improving customer experience and prices.
“It is vital that the next Prime Minister can find a solution that avoids a no deal Brexit on October 31, just before the busy Black Friday and Christmas periods.”
KPMG’s UK head of retail Paul Martin added: “There are few places retailers can hide from the difficult trading conditions that have been hitting the industry for some time. June’s retail performance did little to ease that, with like-for-like sales falling 1.6% compared to last year.
“On the high street, consumers were eager to pull up a pew for the summer’s sporting events, with added interest in the furniture category. Otherwise, consumers largely turned a blind eye to offers in the physical retail space.”
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