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New figures: too early to assess any Brexit impact on retail sales

UK retail sales declined by 0.5% year-on-year on a like-for-like basis in June.

GENERAL MERCHANDISE

New figures: too early to assess any Brexit impact on retail sales

The figures released by the British Retail Consortium and KPMG in their monthly retail sales monitor show that total sales rose by 0.2%.

While sales slowed towards the end of the month following the EU referendum, BRC chief executive Helen Dickinson said it was too early to define this as a trend.

The data shows that the month’s outcome was predominantly driven by a decline in sales in the fashion categories following record growth in clothing and footwear sales in the same month a year ago.

As consumer attention shifted indoors to escape last month’s rain, furniture and home accessories bounced back, with bigger ticket items proving relatively resilient in the days immediately following the EU referendum.

Dickinson said: “The EU referendum vote has not changed their relentless pursuit of delivering for customers day in, day out or their investment in meeting the needs of fundamental changes in the way people shop, driven by digital and technology.

“Despite the fall in the pound, the time it takes for any input price increases to translate into higher shop prices will depend on a combination of factors including further changes in the pound, commodity prices and the challenge for retailers to move pricing given the intensity of competition. So, there won’t be any instant shocks as any changes would take time to feed through.”

Meanwhile, online sales of non-food products in the UK grew by 9% in June versus a year earlier when they had risen by 17.6% over the previous year.

David McCorquodale, head of retail at KPMG, said: “The gloomy weather failed to persuade shoppers onto the virtual aisles which meant summer fashion sales resembled tumble-weed on a catwalk and footwear sales flip-flopped considerably.

“Well timed advertising campaigns sparked sales of electricals as consumers’ sort out new TVs and the latest high-tech mobile phones to catch the Euro 2016 action at home and on-the-go.

“With the referendum fallout still uncertain, retailers will need to make sure all channels are ready and resilient to cope with the impact of a Brexit.”

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