Business

High Street sales fall in June, survey says

A shopper with a red umbrella Image copyright Getty Images

UK retail sales fell in June triggered by weak clothing sales, according to the latest British Retail Consortium-KPMG survey.

The survey indicates they fell by 0.5% in June on a like-for-like basis, which strips out variables in store space.

Helen Dickinson, BRC's chief executive, said it was "too early" to say if shoppers were affected by the result of the EU referendum.

The wet weather is thought to have dampened shoppers' enthusiasm.

"While the ramifications from the Brexit vote may well affect consumer confidence, retailers will be hoping the long-promised heatwave and potential stay-at-home holidays will be enough to drive shoppers back to the high-streets," said David McCorquodale, head of retail at KPMG the accountancy firm which sponsored the survey.

In May spending rose by 1.4% and like-for-like sales, which takes into account changes in the amount of retail space open to shoppers over the past 12 months, increased by 0.5%.

Total retail sales were up 0.2% in June compared with a year ago, but slowed towards the end of the month.

Consumer confidence

This latest update from the high street follows a report pointing to the sharpest fall in consumer confidence for more than 20 years since the Brexit vote.

Market research firm GfK surveyed 2,000 people after the referendum.

Some 60% of consumers expected the general economic situation to worsen in the next 12 months, up from 46% in June. Just 20% expected it to improve, down from 27% last month.

The percentage of people who believed prices would rise rapidly in the next 12 months jumped to 33% from 13% in June.

Mrs Dickinson said: "Despite the fall in the pound, the time it takes for any input price increases to translate into higher shop prices will depend on a combination of factors including further changes in the pound, commodity prices and the challenge for retailers to move pricing given the intensity of competition."

'Holding back'

The latest quarterly survey by the British Chambers of Commerce also suggested lacklustre growth among both services and manufacturing firms.

Dr Adam Marshall, acting director general at the BCC, said: "It shows businesses were holding back... not just prior to the referendum but indeed over the past 2 years."

He also blamed a slow down in the global economy and called on the new government to increase investment in key infrastructure and construction projects as well as ensuring the best possible terms of trade for the UK.

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