BRC reports worst retail sales figures for three years

The total value of retail sales In UK has fallen for the first time in three years. The latest figures from the British Retail Consortium reflect the difficult trading conditions and fall in consumer confidence.

Retail sales value has fallen by 2.2% on a like for like basis from October 2007. Total sales in this October fell by 0.1%.

As in previous months, food and drink were the only sectors to show sales growth compared to a year ago. According to the BRC, clothing and footwear remained poor and discount-driven, with furniture and homewares falling further below year-earlier levels.

Stephen Robertson, director general of the BRC, says: “These are seriously poor numbers, especially in the run-up to Christmas. For the first time in three years total retail sales fell into negative territory.

“The negative sales figures underline record low consumer confidence. These are tough times for families and retailers, who are hoping the Bank of England’s bold interest rate cuts will provide a much-needed boost.”

KPMG head of retail, Helen Dickinson adds: “A fall in the value of total sales is extremely rare– the last time it occurred, in April 2005, was due to the timing of Easter.

“There is no doubt retailers will need to resort to heavy discounting to bolster sales over the next six weeks.”

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