Brexit uncertainty impacts February retail sales
UK retail sales edged down 0.1% on a like-for-like basis in February as uncertainty surrounding Brexit curbed people’s appetite for spending.
On a total basis sales were up 0.5%.
The figures from the British Retail Consortium and KPMG reveal that non-food retail sales in the UK dropped by 0.6% on a like-for-like basis and by 0.4% on a total basis in the three months to February. In addition, in-store sales of non-food items declined 2.8% on a total basis and by 3.1% on a like-for-like basis in the period.
Meanwhile, like-for-like food sales increased by 1.3% in the three months while total food sales rose by 2.4%.
Helen Dickinson BRC chief executive, said: “Uncertainty surrounding the UK’s imminent exit from the European Union has hit consumer spending. While real incomes have started to rise over the past year, shoppers have been reluctant to spend this February, holding back growth. This slowdown was not limited to physical stores, with growth in online non-food sales well below the twelve month average.”
Paul Martin, UK head of retail at KPMG, added: “Across all categories there was sluggish growth, and the milder weather appears to have shifted the focus away from indoors with furniture sales declining - and not even Valentine’s Day could boost sales in the stationery category.”
Online sales of non-food items climbed by 5.4% in February, against growth of 6.4% in February 2018. The online penetration rate increased from 27.5% in February 2018 to 29.6% last month.
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