// UK retail sales suffers “worst June on record”, according to the BRC-KPMG Retail Sales Monitor
// Total sales decreased by 1.3% in June, compared to an increase of 2.3% in June 2018
// The decline drags the 3-month average into -0.1% and the 12-month average to 0.6% – the lowest since December 1995
Poor weather conditions led to the worst June on record for UK retail sales, as retailers struggled to compete with last year’s performance.
According to the latest BRC-KPMG Retail Sales Monitor, total sales decreased by 1.3 per cent in June, compared to an increase of 2.3 per cent in June 2018.
This decline drags the three-month average into a decline of 0.1 per cent and the 12-month average to an increase of 0.6 per cent – the lowest since the monitor began in December 1995.
Meanwhile, June retail sales decreased by 1.6 per cent on a like-for-like basis from the same month last year, when they had increased 1.1 per cent from the preceding year.
This is lower than the three-month and 12-month average declines of 0.4 per cent and 0.1 per cent respectively.
It also represents the worst 12-month average since April 2012.
The figures prompted the BRC to describe the state of the UK high street as “bleak”, although it highlighted that retailers were helped by online sales, which rose four per cent in June for non-food products compared with the same month a year ago.
Last month tricky for retailers, as they were competing with a strong June last year that was boosted by a heatwave and the men’s World Cup finals in Russia.
“June sales could not compete with last year’s scorching weather and World Cup, leading to the worst June on record,” BRC chief executive Helen Dickinson said.
“Sales of TVs, garden furniture and BBQs were all down, with fewer impulse purchases being made.
“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.”
Over the three months to June, in-store sales of non-food items declined 4.3 per cent on a total basis and 4.1 per cent on a like-for-like basis.
The BRC said this was worse than the 12-month total average decline of 2.8 per cent.
Overall non-food retail sales in the UK decreased by two per cent on a like-for-like basis and 2.1 per cent on a total basis.
This is below the 12-month total average decrease of 0.8 per cent and marked the worst quarterly decline since February 2009.
However, during that same three-month period food sales increased 1.5 per cent on a like-for-like basis and 2.4 per cent on a total basis.
This is above the 12-month total average growth of 2.2 per cent, yet it was still not enough to offset the decline in non-food.
“Pressure on retailers continues to mount and is seemingly coming from all angles: economic, geo-political, environmental and behavioural,” KPMH head of UK retail Paul Martin said.
“Consumer spend is only likely to fall further as things stand, 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.”
Dickinson added: “Businesses and the public desperately need clarity on Britain’s future relationship with the EU.
“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 – this represents time and resources that would be better spent improving customer experience and prices.”