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Industry News

Published on August 6th, 2019 | by The GC Team

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Retail sales scrape into positive territory in July

UK retail sales recorded the lowest July figure since records compiled by the British retail Consortium began in 1995.

The rise of 0.3% in total sales during the month follows the worst June on record, but is nonetheless a return to growth, albeit slight, after what the organisation’s Chief Executive Helen Dickinson described as “a punishing few months for the industry.”

On a like-for-like basis, sales increased by 0.1%.

Looking at the three-month performance of the non-food sector, the BRC said sales fell by 2.0% on a like-for-like basis and 2.1% on a total basis, with in-store sales declining 4% and 4.1% respectively while online sales grew by 3.7%.

The online non-food penetration rate increased to 29.8% in July, from 28.4% in the same month of 2018.

“While retailers will welcome the return to growth, it has nonetheless been a punishing few months for the industry,” said Dickinson.

“The combination of slow real wage growth and Brexit uncertainty has left consumer spending languishing, with the 12-month average total sales falling to a new low of just 0.5%.

“And it is not just high streets that are suffering, with non-food online growth also one percentage point below the 12-month average.”

Dickinson added that the “challenging retail environment” is taking its toll on many high street brands who must contend with rising import costs, a multitude of public policy costs, and ever higher business rates. She stated that a coherent strategy for the industry is needed and called on the Government to freeze future business rates rises and fix the appeals system before embarking on “a wholesale reform of this broken tax system.”

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