Posted 4th June

May sees biggest sales decline on record, says BRC

4th June 2019 - 15:18pm
money matters, brc, british retail consortium, kpmg, retail, sales, monitor, furniture, non-food, household, appliance, kbb, kbbdaily

Total retail sales in May declined by 2.7%, marking the worst decline since records began in January 1995 excluding Easter distortions, according to the latest British Retail Consortium – BRC – KPMG Retail Sales Monitor.

On a like-for-like basis, UK retail sales dropped by 3%, marking the steepest like-for-like decline since December 2008 excluding Easter distortions. Over the three months to May, in-store sales of non-food products dropped by 2.7% on a like-for-like basis.

Online sales of non-food products also experienced an “all-time low” last month, the BRC said, with growth of just 1.5% compared with growth of 11.5% in May last year. “With the biggest decline in retail sales on record, the risk of further job losses and store closures will only increase,” said BRC CEO Helen Dickinson.

“With retail conditions the toughest they have been for a decade, politicians must act to support the successful reinvention of our high streets and local communities. Business rates remain a barrier, preventing many retailers from investing in their physical space.

“We have a broken tax system, which sees retailers paying vast sums of money regardless of whether they make a penny at the till, and yet the Government is failing to act,” she added. “The legislation is falling behind the technological revolution.”

KPMG UK retail head Paul Martin: “April may have provided retailers with some light reprieve thanks to Easter, but May’s staggering fall of 3% like-for-like is a stark reminder of the industry’s ongoing issues, which for many require urgent attention.”

However, he noted that May’s bank holiday weekends “have given rise to the added interest in furniture and homewares, as shoppers set about making home improvements”.


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