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    Cooler weather pegs back retail sales though retailers remain hopeful

    (Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)

    Cold weather caused retail sales slumped in June despite pressure easing on households amid a slowdown of inflation, shows industry data released today (9).

    According to the BRC-KPMG retail sales monitor on Tuesday, UK total retail sales decreased by 0.2 per cent in June from a year prior, against growth of 4.9 per cent in June 2023. This was above the 3-month average decline of 1.1 per cent and below the 12-month average growth of 1.5 per cent.

    In May, retail sales rose 0.7 per cent after falling 4.0 per cent in April. Food sales increased 1.1 per cent year-on-year over the three months to June, against growth of 9.8 per cent in June 2023.

    But non-food sales fell 2.9 per cent year-on-year over the three-months to June, against growth of 0.3 per cent in June 2023. In-store non-food sales over the three months to June decreased 3.7 per cent year-on-year, against a growth of 2.0 per cent in June 2023.

    Highlighting the pressure on retailers amid a wider slowdown in spending as households grapple with the cost of living crisis, the trade body blamed the drop on unseasonably cold weather.

    “Retail sales performed poorly in June as the cooler weather during the first half of the month dulled consumer spending,” said the BRC’s chief executive, Helen Dickinson.

    “Sales of weather-sensitive categories such as clothing and footwear, as well as DIY and gardening were hit particularly hard, especially compared to the surge in spending during last June’s heatwave.

    “The retail industry is vital to the nation’s economy as an important source of employment and investment. The industry shapes local communities and provides three million jobs across the country.

    “Through its scale and reach, retail can make a huge contribution to Labour’s policy goals, and the industry stands ready to work with the new government to find ways to make this happen,” Dickinson added.

    While inflation has returned to the 2 per cent target set by the last government, prices still remain significantly higher than before the cost of living crisis took hold.

    “While the election campaign has not impacted shopper confidence during June, we might expect to see a boost following the election. We have seen a positive bump for shopper confidence immediately following the three previous general elections, therefore we should expect something similar as we move through July,” she added.

    “Electronics sales had a better month as football fans cheering on their national teams upgraded their home entertainment systems and people replaced their pandemic purchases,” she added. “Retailers remain hopeful that as the summer social season gets into full swing and the weather improves, sales will follow suit.”

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