Like-for-like UK retail sales were up 0.5% in July compared with the same month in 2017, but the summer heatwave has failed to light a fire under fashion.
Total sales increased by 1.6% last month, compared with 1.4% in July 2017, but in-store sales of non-food items declined by 1% on a total basis and 2.4% on a like-for-like basis, the British Retail Consortium (BRC) and KPMG Retail Sales Monitor shows.
Helen Dickinson, chief executive of the BRC, said that for many retailers, autumn “could not come sooner”: “Total sales growth slowed as the heat laid bare the underlying weakness in consumer spending. Sales of non-food products struggled – three months into an extended period of summer weather, demand for many seasonal purchases has slowed while the heat has kept shoppers away from days spent browsing new ranges.”
Paul Martin, UK head of retail at KPMG, added: “For all the hopes placed on the World Cup and the glorious weather, it seems retail sales still fell short of expectations, growing only 0.5% on a like-for-like basis in July 2018. It was perhaps just too hot to hit the high street.
“Unsurprisingly, food and drink fuelled the majority of sales growth thanks to summer barbecues, picnics and football festivities, while elsewhere growth was mainly witnessed among the holiday essential categories, including health and beauty, deckchairs and fashion. This was particularly true when comparing the high street to online – the latter fared considerably better.”