Posted 17th Jul 2019

Retail sales continue to fall as consumers remain wary

17th July 2019 - 08:00am
money matters, brc, british retail consortium, kpmg, retail, sales, monitor, furniture, non-food, household, appliance, kbb, kbbdaily

Retail sales decreased by 1.6% on a like-for-like basis in June as “ongoing Brexit uncertainty led consumers to put off non-essential purchases” and avoid higher spending despite rising real wages, according to the latest British Retail Consortium – BRC – KPMG Retail Sales Monitor.

Over the three months to June, in-store sales of non-food products dropped by 4.1% on a like-for-like basis, while online sales of non-food products grew by 4% last month. The non-food online penetration rate rose to 30.7% from the 28.5% recorded in June 2018.

“June sales could not compete with last year’s scorching weather and World Cup, leading to the worst June on record,” said BRC CEO Helen Dickinson, adding that “fewer impulse purchases” were 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.”

KPMG UK retail head and partner Paul Martin added: “Pressure on retailers continues to mount and is seemingly coming from all angles: economic, geo-political, environmental and behavioural.

“Consumer spend is only likely to fall further as things stand, and cost efficiency remains vital. The focus for most in the industry will be preservation and adaptation in order to see them through these tough times.”

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