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Retail sales halved since Lehman collapse

Retail sales growth is half what it was in the years before the Lehman Brothers collapse, according to the British Retail Consortium (BRC).

The BRC has today (September 24) published data to coincide with the fourth anniversary of Lehman’s collapse, showing that the impact of the financial crisis on the UK retail sector has been severe, long-lasting and continues to be felt.

Year-on-year value growth has averaged just 2.42% since the bank collapsed in 2008, dropping to 2.1% in the last two years - lower than inflation, which ran at 3.8%.

This compares with growth of 4.5% over the two years before the financial crisis, while the rate of inflation was 2.9%.

The BRC is now calling on the government to control household costs such as the fuel duty increase, due in January.

“Four years on from this key event in the banking crisis, which sent retail sales plummeting, sales growth is still less than half what it was before. Sales volumes are now going backwards,” said director general Stephen Robertson.

“Representing over 5% of GDP and more than 10% of jobs, retail is a vital part of the UK economy and a key indicator of its health. Retail is fundamentally resilient. It’s still the biggest private sector employer in the country but this analysis vividly demonstrates the lasting blow dealt to households and to retail sales by the crisis of 2008.

“Any successful economic fight back needs a return to strength for the retail sector. It’s not enough just to talk about growth. We need the government to rebuild confidence, support customers and retailers and get spending going again by holding back the costs it is responsible for. “


Total retail sales:

Average year-on-year growth rate*

Year to date 20122.3%

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