Retail sales fell 0.2% in August
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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