Photo: REUTERS/Henry Nicholls

Food sales growth remained in positive territory in June when the overall retail sales suffered a major decline.

According to the latest BRC figures, food sales increased 1.5 percent on a like-for-like (LFL) basis over the three months to June, whereas all the other sectors have seen sales decreasing.

For the same period, in-store sales of non-food items declined by 4.1 percent and non-food retail sales decreased by 2 percent on LFL basis.

Overall, LFL retail sales decreased by 1.6 percent from June 2018, when they had increased 1.1 percent from the preceding year.

“Sales of TVs, garden furniture and BBQs were all down, with fewer impulse purchases being made. 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,” commented Helen Dickinson, chief executive of British Retail Consortium.

Online channel has seen substantial growth at 4 percent, though it clocked a much more robust 8.5 percent in June 2018. The online penetration rate for non-food items increased from 28.5 percent in June 2018 to 30.7 percent last month.

Commenting on the food sales figures, Susan Barratt, chief executive of IGD, said: “A late start to the summer weather in June compared unfavourably with consistently drier and warmer conditions in 2018, so while year-on-year growth in food and grocery sales last month was small, it is still encouraging.

“If the recent pick up in temperatures is sustained, there’s hope for stronger figures in July. Shoppers feel slightly more positive at the moment, with the percentage expecting to become worse off financially in the year ahead falling from 32 per cent in February to 27 per cent today.”