High street woes set to continue

The difficulties facing high street retailers have been underlined as sales slowed in July, according to official figures.

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Office of National Statistics data showed sales volume increased 0.2% month on month in July, compared to a 0.8% bump in June. Growth was flat year on year, the ONS adds.

Consumer spending continues to be hit by rising prices and low salary increases, according to British Retail Consortium director general, Stephen Robertson. The BRC reported a 0.6% increase in high street sales last week.

Robertson adds: “Conditions are increasingly difficult for customers and retailers. All the growth in sales values came from inflation and January’s increase in VAT; people are actually buying fewer goods than a year ago.”

Separate ONS numbers released today (18 August) show that inflation will remain above the Government’s 2% target for at least 12 months and is likely to rise to 5% this year. Inflation stood at 4.2% in June, the ONS adds.

The slowdown on the high street is being mirrored online. Figures from IMRG Capgemini earlier this week showed that online sales growth slowed to the lowest level in 18 months in July.

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