Sales declining at rate ‘not seen since peak of Covid’, warns BRC

UK retail sales dropped by one per cent last month in comparison to a rise of more than 10 per cent in June 2021.

During the three-months to June, non-food retail sales plummeted by 3.3 per cent on a total basis and 4.2 per cent on a like-for-like basis.

The British Retail Consortium (BRC), which publishes the data, said the figures demonstrate a decline in sales volumes not seen since “the depths of the pandemic”.

“Sales volumes are falling to a rate not seen since the depths of the pandemic, as inflation continues to bite, and households cut back spending,” said Helen Dickinson, chief executive, British Retail Consortium. “Discretionary purchases were hit hard, especially white goods and homeware, while consumers also traded down to cheaper brands in food and non-food alike.”

Dickinson warned that while the Jubilee weekend saw a temporary boost to food sales and there has been a hike in fashion sales during the summer holiday and wedding season, this has not been enough to counter a substantial slowdown in consumer spending.

“As the cost of living crisis continues to deepen, retailers face walking a fine line between protecting margins and further denting consumer confidence by passing on price rises whilst negotiating with their suppliers to share the cost increases,” said Paul Martin, UK head of retail at KPMG, which helps collate the retail sales monitor figures. “Cost and efficiency will dominate retailers’ agendas as they are forced to make some tough decisions on which products make it to the shelves in order to remain price competitive for consumers.”

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