Retail sales fell by 0.3 per cent in July compared to the same period last year as record low food prices and the threat of rising interest rates drove down sales.
It was a similar picture from May- July in which like-for-like sales fell 0.2 per cent – the lowest growth since summer 2012, according to data from the BRC/KPMG.
July was up against tough comparatives after consumers responded well to the birth of the royal baby and Andy Murray winning Wimbledon.
Food sales fell sharply by 3.5 per cent, representing the third month of sales decline in a row. Total sales rose 1.3 per cent which represented a slow down from last July’s stellar 3.9 per cent rise.
Home products such as furniture, home accessories and lightweight bedding performed well as consumer’s seeked the solution for long and hot summer nights. Outdoor products such as toys and baby equipment also performed strongly.
David McCorquodale, head of retail, KPMG, said: “The tale of two sectors continues with polarisation between food and non-food. While non-food retailers had a stellar month, surpassing even last year’s record sales performance, the grocers saw sales tumble in value as their competitive pricing continued.
“Fashion retailers are enjoying a better summer… and many have avoided the price cutting sprees seen last year. There was even a bounce back in furniture and household spend following a softening in June.
The ONS publishes retail sales data on 21 August which covers a broader range of retailers and includes larger chains.
Retail sales stagnated in June and rose by 0.1 per cent month-on-month, slumped in May but showed strong growth in March and April to complete the strongest quarter for ten years.