The UK retail picture is bleak, BRC/KPMG research shows

The UK retail picture is bleak, BRC/KPMG research shows

UK retailers have just experienced their worst June on record.

According to BRC and KPMG research, on a total basis sales decreased by 1.3% last month, against an increase of 2.3% a year earlier. This drags the three-month average into a decline of 0.1% and the 12-month average to an increase of 0.6%, the lowest since records began in December 1995.

In a rare glimmer of light, online sales of non-food products grew 4% in June, against a rise of 8.5% in June 2018. Shoppers made the most of added convenience and continued aggressive pricing, with fashion performing particularly well thanks to end-of-season sales and upcoming holidays.

“June sales could not compete with last year’s scorching weather and World Cup. Sales of TVs, garden furniture and BBQs were all down, with fewer impulse purchases being 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,” Helen Dickinson, Chief Executive at British Retail Consortium.

Businesses and the public desperately need clarity on Britain’s future relationship with the EU, she adds. “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. It is vital that the next Prime Minister can find a solution that avoids a No Deal Brexit on 31st October, just before the busy Black Friday and Christmas periods.”

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