Retailers suffer worst July sales growth since records began

BRC July
// The latest BRC & Barclaycard figures posted worst July figures since 1995
// Annual sales growth rose to just 0.3% in July
// On a like-for-like basis, UK retail sales saw a mere rise of 0.1% from July last year

Consumer spending in the UK has declined following continued political and economic uncertainty, showing the worst July figures since records began in 1995.

Annual sales growth rose to 0.3 per cent in July after contracting by 1.3 per cent in June and 2.7 per cent in May, according to the BRC.

However, the results still showed the lowest July figures since 1995.

On a like-for-like basis, UK retail sales saw a mere rise of 0.1 per cent from July last year.

Meanwhile, Barclaycard reported similar consumer caution in its monthly consumer spending data, which showed a 1.7 per cent growth.

A total of 54 per cent of consumers said they felt comfortable with making big purchases, down from 60 per cent the previous month, according to Barclaycard.

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

“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 per cent.

“Whereas last year’s glorious sunshine and World Cup Finals led to strong consumer demand over the summer, this year has been weak in comparison, with both June and July showing the lowest sales on record for their respective months.

“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 said.

Barclaycard director Esme Harwood said: “Underlying uncertainty about the wider economic and political landscape (is) causing many to hold off making purchases on bigger-ticket items.”

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