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Food sales drop for first time this year in July

New figures have shown that UK retail sales edged up 1.2% on a like-for-like basis in July compared to the same month last year. On a total basis, sales rose by 2.2%.

GENERAL MERCHANDISE

Food sales drop for first time this year in July

New figures have shown that UK retail sales edged up 1.2% on a like-for-like basis in July compared to the same month last year. On a total basis, sales rose by 2.2%.

The figures released by the British Retail Consortium and KPMG in their monthly retail sales monitor, show that total food sales fell for the first time this year in July, excluding Easter distortions. In the three months to July, total food sales were up 0.1%.

Meanwhile, non-food sales grew 3.7% over the same period, showing strong underlying momentum for the category. Furniture, home accessories and house textiles formed three of the top four performing categories, as trade was supported by renewed strength in the housing market.

Online sales of non-food products in the UK grew 14.7% in July versus a year earlier, when they had grown by 14.9%.

The non-food online penetration rate was 17.6%, up from 16.5% in July 2014.

Helen Dickinson, director general of the British Retail Consortium, said: “Despite being a slight slowdown compared with last month, today’s sales growth of 2.2% compared with this time last year reflects the continued hard work by retailers to tap into increasing consumer demand. Interestingly, of all categories covered by our monitor, total food sales were the worst performing, recording a fall for the first time this year.

“Retailers have been offering great prices and special offers on everyday essentials for some time. Despite 27 consecutive months of falling shop prices it seems that consumers remain content to budget carefully on their necessary food outlay and spend that little bit more on purchases they have perhaps deferred.”

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