July retail sales down 0.3 per cent on 2013, says British Retail Consortium and KPMG

UK retail sales were down 0.3 per cent on a like-for-like basis from July 2013, when they had increased 2.2 per cent on the preceding year.

Retail customer
Retail customer

On a total basis, sales were up 1.3 per cent, against a 3.9 per cent rise in July 2013. The three-month average total sales growth, 1.3 per cent, is below the 12-month average of 2.3 per cent.

Food showed a decline of 1.4 per cent, in contrast with the growth of 0.4 per cent experienced over the last 12 months. Non-food reported growth of 3.4 per cent over the three months to July 2014, in line with its twelve-month average of 3.8 per cent.

Online sales of non-food products in the UK grew 14.9 per cent.

Garden retail was down 0.44 per cent in July, according to the Garden Centre Association, but up seven per cent year-to-date.

BRC director general Helen Dickinson said: "This July we have achieved overall growth of 1.3 per cent year on year, which at first glance compares unfavourably with the 2.3 per cent long-term rate over the last twelve months. However, July last year was a tough month to beat because consumers had really responded well to high profile exciting sporting events and of course, the birth of the royal baby.

"The home categories showed a pick up this month after performing less well in June; furniture reported its highest growth since January excluding Easter distortions and home accessories and house textiles (especially lightweight bedding) all did well. Understandably, outdoor products sold well as did overall toys and baby equipment.

"Non-food online sales continued to show strong growth, the third highest this year, driven notably by furniture, kitchen appliances, gaming and toys."

KPMG retail head David McCorquodale said: "The tale of two sectors continues with polarisation between food and non-food.  While non-food retailers had a stellar month, surpassing even last year’s record sales performance, the grocers saw sales tumble in value as their competitive pricing continued.

"The grocers’ figures continue to make for gloomy reading for the sector.  The impact of their prolonged discounting campaigns may be good news for consumers, but must be being felt deeply by the retailers given like for like sales have fallen in value every month for the last 12 months, save for April when Easter helped sales.  The headache for the grocer investor is the tonic for the consumer: it’s likely these price wars are here to stay for the foreseeable future."

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