Posted 14th March

Brexit uncertainty impacts retail growth, says BRC

14th March 2019 - 07:00am
money matters, brc, british retail consortium, kpmg, retail, sales, monitor, furniture, non-food, household, appliance, kbb, kbbdaily

The British Retail Consortium – BRC – has said that uncertainty surrounding the looming Brexit has “hit consumer spending” and therefore impacted retail growth, with UK retail sales declining by 0.1% on a like-for-like basis in February.

The latest BRC-KPMG Retail Sales Monitor also found that in-store sales of non-food items declined by 3.1% on a like-for-like basis over the three months to February, while online sales of non-food items grew by 5.4%. The online penetration rate also rose to 29.6% last month.

Overall retail sales for non-food products decreased by 0.6% on a like-for-like basis over the three months to February. However, household appliance sales rose last month. “Uncertainty surrounding the UK’s imminent exit from the European Union has hit consumer spending,” said BRC CEO Helen Dickinson.

“While real incomes have started to rise over the past year, shoppers have been reluctant to spend this February, holding back growth. This slowdown was not limited to physical stores, with growth in online non-food sales well below the 12-month average.”

She added: “With consumers increasingly aware of the risk of a no-deal Brexit, it is likely that uncertainty has driven this cautious approach to retail spending. If Government wishes to reassure both the public and businesses, they should ensure a chaotic no deal – which would lead to higher costs, higher prices, and less choice for consumers – is taken off the table with immediate effect.”

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