Sales growth dips as consumer confidence wanes

Non-food retailers have seen “poor” sales in July as public spending cuts unsettle consumers, according to the British Retail Consortium.

Total sales growth in July was up 2.6%, compared to the previous year but like-for-like sales, which exclude new stores, rose only 0.5%

In the three months from May to July, most of the sales growth came from food sales, which were up 4% while non-food sales growth was only 2.3%. Several sectors saw a fall in sales growth.

Clothing sales were boosted by end of summer clearance sales while homewares suffered and big-ticket items were impacted as shoppers focussed on essentials as public spending cuts and job security caused uncertainty.

Declining consumer confidence even hit online sales, which showed the slowest growth for almost a year, up 11.3% than a year earlier.

Stephen Robertson, British Retail Consortium director general, says: “These are poor results for non-food retailing. The benefit from sunny weather receded as it turned cooler and wetter in parts of the country, while the World Cup boost ended. But the overriding factor is consumer confidence – it’s fallen recently, though people are still more confident than this time last year.”

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