Total retail sales decreased by -1.3% in June (against an increase of +2.3% in June 2018), states the latest BRC-KPMG Retail Sales Monitor. They were down -1.6% YoY on a LFL basis.

However, furniture was the third-best performing product category of 13, down from 2nd place in May 2019, but up from eighth YoY. Online sales were up on the previous month's.

Paul Martin, Partner, UK head of retail for KPMG, says: “There are few places retailers can hide from the difficult trading conditions that have been hitting the industry for some time. June’s retail performance did little to ease that, with LFL sales falling -1.6% compared to last year.

“On the high street, consumers were eager to pull up a pew for the summer’s sporting events, with added interest in the furniture category. Otherwise, consumers largely turned a blind eye to offers in the physical retail space.

“With +4% online growth, shoppers were thankfully more engaged in this channel, making the most of the added convenience and continued aggressive pricing."

“June sales could not compete with last year’s scorching weather and World Cup, leading to the worst June on record," says BRC chief executive, Helen Dickinson OBE. "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.

“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. It is vital that the next PM can find a solution that avoids a no-deal Brexit on 31st October, just before the busy Black Friday and Christmas periods.”