Retail sales fell 0.2% in August
The Office for National Statistics has announced that UK retail sales fell by 0.2% in August. Most retail sectors were affected by a drop in sales with the biggest decreases seen in department stores and computer and telecoms businesses.
Commenting on the figures, the British Retail Consortium said its own findings showed that the fortunes of the sector are sharply divided between food and non-food and that it believes that the non-food sector is having a more difficult time than the Government’s figures suggest.
BRC director general, Stephen Robertson, said: “This is yet more evidence of the split within the retail sector. Food sales are generally holding up but times are much more difficult for non-food retailers.
“But the information we’re getting from our members shows non-food retailers are having a tougher time than these official statistics suggest. Consumers are still feeling the pressure because their disposable incomes are down and they’re postponing purchases of non-essentials, particularly big-ticket items such as furniture and electricals."
The BRC said that the Christmas trading period would be more important than ever this year. Robertson added: "Retailers will be in stiff competition with each other to attract business and recover lost ground as the year ends.”
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