On a total basis, retail sales increased by +0.3% in July, against an increase of +1.6% in July 2018, reports BRC-KPMG.
This was the lowest July figure since the alliance's records began in 1995, and comes after the worst June on records. It was above the three-month average of -1.3%, but below the 12-month average of -0.5% (the lowest 12-month average on records).
UK retail sales increased by +0.1% on a LFL basis from July 2018, when they had increased +0.5% from the preceding year.
Online sales of non-food products grew by +3.7%, while non-food online penetration rate increased from 28.4% in July 2018 to 29.8% last month.
Helen Dickinson OBE, BRC chief executive, says: “While retailers will welcome the return to growth, it has nonetheless been a punishing few months for the industry. 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%. 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. And it is not just high streets that are suffering, with non-food online growth also one percentage point below the 12-month average.
“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. A coherent strategy for retail is needed. The Government should freeze future business rates rises and fix the appeals system before embarking on a wholesale reform of this broken tax system.”