Retail sales slide as inflation bites

by | Jul 12, 2022

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Retail sales fell in June, industry research showed on Tuesday, as surging inflation and the cost-of-living crisis caused shoppers to cut spending.
According to the latest BRC-KPMG Retail Sales Monitor, total sales fell 1.0% last month, compared to an increase of 10.4% in June 2021. On a like-for-like basis, UK retail sales were down 1.3% on June 2021, when they had jumped 6.7%.

In the three months to June, food sales increased 2.2% on a total basis or by 1.6% on an underlying basis. But non-food-sales slid 3.3% and 4.2% on a total and like-for-like basis.

Total retail sales have now declined for three months in a row for the first time since the start of the pandemic in 2020, although the falls then were considerably large.

Helen Dickinson, chief executive of the British Retail Consortium, said: “Sales volumes are falling at a rate not seen since the depths of the pandemic, as inflation continues to bite and households cut back spending.

“Discretionary purchases were hit hard, especially white goods and homeware, while consumer also traded down to cheaper brands in food and non-food alike.

“Retailers are caught between significant rising costs in their supply chains and protecting their customers from price rises.”

Paul Martin, UK head of retail at KPMG, said: “Retail sales continued to slide for the third month in a row, albeit down just 1% om what was a strong June 2021 and against a backdrop of unprecedented price rises on the high street.

“Online shopping continues to move in reverse with total sales down 9%, as non-food purchases related to the home – such as furniture, home appliances and computing – suffered the biggest falls in online spending.”

Susan Barratt, chief executive at IGD, said: “Food and drink sales fluctuated week by week in June and with volume sales down, and value sales up, we can clearly see inflation coming through.

“The overall downward sales trend for volumes means the outlook continues to be challenging, although good weather might provide a welcome boost in July.”

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