Jul 9, 2019
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Brexit and wet weather mean UK retail stayed weak in June says BRC

Jul 9, 2019

Sales at UK retailers rose in the 12 months to June. Good news? Perhaps not. It was the slowest average pace on record over the last year as Brexit concerns continued to keep UK consumers cautious.

Brexit continues to hurt UK retail sales

Average total sales growth was only 0.6%, the British retail Consortium (BRC) said Tuesday, which was the slowest rise since it began keeping records in 1995. And the month was troubling on another level too as year-on-year total sales fell in June with the 1.3% drop also the biggest on record. 

On a like-for-like basis, sales fell by 1.6% in June and the 12-month average was down 0.1%, which was the weakest figure in over seven years.

Non-food sales slowed in the three months to June, with a 4.3% drop, much worse than the average fall of 2.8% in the past year. At least online sales of non-food items managed to rise, although at 4%, the increase was far from impressive.

At a time when inflation has been running between 2% and 3%, none of those figures look good.

Of course, it was unlikely that the June figures were ever going to be good compared to last year. In June 2018, the country was enjoying a heatwave and the football World Cup. In June 2019, the wet weather tended to drown out everything else.

“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,” BRC Chief Executive Helen Dickinson said.

She also said that 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.”

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