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Retail sales growth slows during July

Retail sales growth in the UK slowed in the four weeks to 29 July.

Sales inched up by 0.9% on a like-for-like basis from last year, down from 1.1% growth on the previous year, according to the British Retail Consortium (BRC) and KPMG retail sales monitor.

Retail sales in the UK for the four weeks to 29 July edged up 1.4%, against growth of 1.9% in July 2016.

In the three months to July, non-food retail sales dipped by 0.7% on a like-for-like basis and by 0.4% on a total basis. This is below total average growth of 0.4% over a 12-month period.

However, online sales of non-food products grew 8.3% in July, compared with 11.2% in 2016.

This rose by 7.8% in the three months to July, while the 12-month average stood at 8.4%.

During the same three months, in-store sales declined by 2.6% on a total basis and 3% on a like-for-like basis.

BRC chief executive Helen Dickinson said that despite the “gloomy” picture for non-food retail there were some success stories, includinga number of clothing retailers” benefiting from “some early interest in their newly launched autumn ranges”.

She added that the month’s growth was “underpinned” by food sales alone: “Non-food sales relapsed into negative territory as the competition heats up over a shrinking pool of discretionary consumer spending power.”

KPMG UK head of retail Paul Martin added: “Bucking the overall trend in non-food, children’s footwear seems to have been a popular purchase, no doubt encouraged by the start of summer holidays. Elsewhere, the rainy month turned attention indoors, with furniture and home accessory sales benefiting. For online retailers, everyone appeared to be a winner, but once again health and beauty was a strong performer in the month.

“Interestingly, July retail sales diverge from the latest consumer confidence figures, which noted a downturn in consumer sentiment. This divide suggests that UK shopping patterns remain mixed, although with demand continuing to be weak, retailers would be wise to remain cautious.”

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