July retail sales show lowest growth since records began

BRC UK retail sales

According to the latest figures from the British Retail Consortium (BRC)-KMPG Retail Sales Monitor, total UK retail sales covering the four weeks from 30 June – 27 July 2019, showed the lowest increase since its records began in 1995, up just 0.3% on July 2018.

That follows the worst June on record, which saw total retail sales fall by -1.3%. Online sales of non-food products grew 3.7% in July, against a growth of 7.5% in July 2018.

Helen Dickinson OBE, chief executive of the BRC, said: “While retailers will welcome the return to growth, it has nonetheless been a punishing few months for the industry. 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%.

“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. A coherent strategy for retail is needed. The Government should freeze future business rates rises and fix the appeals system before embarking on a wholesale reform of this broken tax system.”

Paul Martin, UK head of retail at KPMG added: “The UK may have had record temperatures in July, but retail sales were far from record-breaking at just 0.3% growth. While any growth is welcome after two months of decline, it’s clear that most players need more than sunshine to get back on their feet.”