Retail sales suffer 'biggest decline on record' in May


Retail sales suffered “the biggest decline on record” during May, as food sales dropping for the first time in nearly four years. 

Like-for-like sales decreased by 3% compared to the same period in 2018, when they registered a 2.8% uptick year on year, according to the latest BRC-KPMG Retail Sales Monitor. This was the steepest like-for-like decline since December 2008.

Total retail sales also plummeted by 2.7%, which, excluding Easter distortions, was the worst decline since the sales monitor began in January 1995. This was set against a 4.1% increase in total sales for May 2018, which was itself a four-year record.

Most worryingly for retailers, in-store sales of food increased just 0.8% on a like-for-like basis in the three months to May, below the 12-month total average growth of 2.5%.

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