Retail sales decline by 2.5%

UK retail sales volumes fell by 2.5 per cent between June and July 2021, according to the latest ONS retail figures.

However, sales were up by 5.2 per cent in the three months to July compared with the previous three months.

Sales were also 5.8 per cent higher than pre-pandemic levels.

Food store sales volumes fell by 1.5 per cent in July 2021, following an increase in the previous month when sales were positively boosted by the start of the Euro 2020 football championship.

Non-food stores reported a fall of 4.4 per cent in sales volumes in July 2021 when compared with June 2021, driven by a 10 per cent decline in second-hand goods stores and computer and telecoms equipment stores.

The proportion of retail sales online increased to 27.9 per cent in July from 27.1 per cent in June, remaining substantially higher than the proportion of online retail spending in February 2020 of 19.8 per cent.

“The fifth consecutive month of rising sales is a testament to the perseverance and innovation of retailers who continue to constantly adapt to the changing Covid landscape,” said Helen Dickinson, chief executive of the British Retail Consortium (BRC.) “Unfortunately, the lifting of many social restrictions in July did not bring about the anticipated boost in sales compared with the previous months, and the wet weather appeared to have dampened consumer enthusiasm for shopping.”

The chief exec warned that while retailers are keen to see growth continue throughout the second half of the year, there are challenges ahead, including disruption to global shipping and the shortage of UK lorry drivers.

“In October, the UK will introduce new checks on products of animal origin being imported from the EU, adding more costs to the system,” Dickinson added. “Government must take action on these issues, increasing the number of HGV driving tests taking place and ensuring new EU-GB documentation checks are as light touch as possible.”

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