August sales at a “new low” as high street crisis strikes

1252
BRC-KPMG high street August sales
Summer discounting & poor footfall have hit in-store sales particularly hard
// For the 4 weeks to August 24, UK retail sales decreased 0.5% compared with August 2018
// Sales were above the three-month average of -0.4% but below the 12-month average of 0.4%
// Greater economic and political uncertainty has driven down consumer demand

Retail sales in the UK have dropped to a “new low” during the month of August, according to the latest BRC-KPMG sales figures.

For the four weeks to August 24, total retail sales were flat compared with an increase of 1.3 per cent for the same period the previous year.

Sales were above the three-month average of -0.4 per cent but below the 12-month average of 0.4 per cent – marking the lowest 12-month average on record.

UK retail sales decreased 0.5 per cent on a like-for-like basis compared with August 2018, which saw a decrease of 0.2 per cent.

This placed the results above the three-month average of -0.7 per cent but below the 12-month average of -0.2 per cent.

Meanwhile, food like-for like sales fell 0.3 per cent – but increased 0.5 per cent on a total basis during the period – putting it below the 12-month average growth of 1.7 per cent.

Non-food sales for the same period decreased 1.2 per cent on a like-for-like and total basis.

This is below the 12-month average decrease of 0.7 per cent.

Non-food online sales increased 2.2 per cent during the month of August, but was still lower than the 7.5 per cent sales spike in August last year.

“Retail sales flatlined in August with the 12-month average dropping to a new low of just 0.4 per cent,” BRC chief executive Helen Dickinson said.

“Greater economic and political uncertainty has driven down consumer demand.

“While the summer weather gave a small boost to food sales, this was cancelled out by a drop in non-food sales.

“Summer discounting and poor footfall have hit in-store sales particularly hard.

“If the government wants to avoid seeing further store closures and job losses on the UK high street, they must take action.

“Last month, 50 retail CEOs wrote to the Chancellor demanding he fix the broken business rates system, allowing businesses to fund vital investment during this unprecedented period of transformation.”

KPMG head of retail Paul Martin said: “August proved to be yet another incredibly disappointing month for retail, with like-for-like sales down 0.5 per cent and total sales flatlining at zero.

“It’s clear that for much of the retail market, efforts are being focused on preservation, not growth, in this adverse and uncertain climate.”

Click here to sign up to Retail Gazette‘s free daily email newsletter