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Published on July 9th, 2019 | by The GC Team

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Retail sales record worst 12-month average in seven years

UK retail sales fell 1.6% on a like-for-like basis in June, representing the worst 12-month average since April 2012.

Over the three-months to June, non-food sales decreased by 2.0% on a like-for-like basis – the is the worst quarterly decline since February 2009. In-store sales in the sector were down 4.1% – significantly worse than the 12-month total average decline of 2.8%.

“June sales could not compete with last year’s scorching weather and World Cup, leading to the worst June on record,” said Helen Dickinson, Chief Executive of the British Retail Consortium.

Sales of TVs, garden furniture and BBQs were all down, with fewer impulse purchases being made, according to the CE. “Overall, the picture is bleak,” she commented. “Rising real wages have failed to translate into higher spending as ongoing Brexit uncertainty led consumers to put off non-essential purchases.”

Paul Martin, Partner, UK Head of Retail at KPMG, said there are few places retailers can hide from the difficult trading conditions that have been hitting the industry for some time. June’s retail performance did little to ease that, he added.

“On the high street, consumers were eager to pull up a pew for the summer’s sporting events, with added interest in the furniture category. Otherwise, consumers largely turned a blind eye to offers in the physical retail space.

“With 4% online growth, shoppers were thankfully more engaged in this channel, making the most of the added convenience and continued aggressive pricing.”

Martin pointed out that 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,” he commented, “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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