UK retail sales plunge again

UK retailers faced declining sales last month as tighter household budgets forced shoppers off the high street, according to the latest figures from the British Retail Consortium. It follows a brief sales lift in May.

The latest BRC figures show that UK retail sales value fell 0.4% on a like-for-like basis, compared with June 2007. The figures are a reversal of the 1.4% boost during May, which was attributed to warm weather. It says that sales have now been lower than a year ago in three of the past four months, making it worst since summer 2005.

The drop in consumer confidence, which has now reached record lows, has led to a massive increase in value deals, which are hugely popular with shoppers.

Clothing and footwear sales were hit the hardest in June, with shopping for furniture and homewares slipping further below previous year levels.

BRC director general Stephen Robertson says: “The negative result confirms fears May’s modest like-for-like sales was a start-of-summer blip. While total retail sales grew in June, that was less than half last month’s figure. June saw like-for-like food sales up on a year ago but that was compared with suppressed sales in June 2007, the wettest on record. Almost all other retail sectors recorded falls with electricals, DIY and homewares the worst hit and furniture sales falling faster than for three years.”

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