Total UK retail sales fell by 1.3% in June, marking the worst 12-month average since records began in December 1995.
On a like-for-like basis UK sales dropped 1.6% compared with June 2018, which was the worst 12-month average since April 2012. Over the three months to 29 June, in-store sales of non-food items declined 4.3% on a total basis and 4.1% on a like-for-like basis, the latest BRC–KPMG retail sales monitor showed.
Online sales of non-food products grew 4% in June, against growth of 8.5% in June 2018.
Helen Dickinson, chief executive of British Retail Consortium, said: “June sales could not compete with last year’s scorching weather and World Cup, leading to the worst June on record. Overall, the picture is bleak: rising real wages have failed to translate into higher spending as ongoing Brexit uncertainty led consumers to put off non-essential purchases.
“Businesses and the public desperately need clarity on Britain’s future relationship with the EU. The continued risk of a no deal Brexit is harming consumer confidence and forcing retailers to spend hundreds of millions of pounds putting in place mitigations – this represents time and resources that would be better spent improving customer experience and prices. It is vital that the next Prime Minister can find a solution that avoids a no deal Brexit on 31 October, just before the busy Black Friday and Christmas periods.”
Paul Martin, partner, UK head of retail at KPMG, added: “There are few places retailers can hide from the difficult trading conditions that have been hitting the industry for some time. June’s retail performance did little to ease that, with like-for-like sales falling 1.6% compared to last year.
“On the high street, consumers were eager to pull up a pew for the summer’s sporting events, with added interest in the furniture category. Otherwise, consumers largely turned a blind eye to offers in the physical retail space.
“With 4% online growth, shoppers were thankfully more engaged in this channel, making the most of the added convenience and continued aggressive pricing. Fashion performed particularly well thanks to end-of-season sales and upcoming holidays.
“Pressure on retailers continues to mount and is seemingly coming from all angles: economic, geo-political, environmental and behavioural. Consumer spend is only likely to fall further as things stand, and cost efficiency remains vital. The focus for most in the industry will be preservation and adaptation in order to see them through these tough times.”