UK clothing stores hit with 4.7% decline in sales

Non-food store sales volumes in the UK dropped by 0.7 per cent last month, largely driven by a 4.7 per cent decline in clothing store sales.

The latest ONS retail figures were also impacted by a 3.7 per cent decrease in sales at household goods stores, including furniture shops.

Overall, non-store retailing – predominately made up of online retailers – saw sales drop by 3.7 per cent in June. But volumes were still nearly 21 per cent above pre-pandemic levels.

Food was the only category to see sales volumes rise, with an 3.1 per cent increase. Retailers attributed heightened sales to the Queen’s Jubilee celebrations.

“The cost of living crunch caused by record inflation continue to damage consumer confidence and stifle household spending,” said Helen Dickinson, chief executive of the British Retail Consortium. “Discretionary spending and particularly bigger purchases were put off as consumers become increasingly concerned about the future. As a result, furniture sales and white goods were particularly hard hit, while food sales held up a little better.”

Lynda Petherick, head of retail for Accenture in the UK and Ireland said that with inflation continuing to climb and business confidence falling to a record low, retailers have to choose between “swallowing rising costs or passing them on to shoppers”.

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