Retail Association comments on disappointing festive sales figures

Independent Retailers Association says consumer demand remains ‘fragile’

The British Independent Retailers Association has said June’s Retail Sales Monitor (RSM) shows that consumer demand remains ‘fragile’ but the good weather is helping.

BIRA, which works with over 6,000 independent businesses of all sizes across the UK, said the report shows an interesting snapshot into the current retail landscape.
The BRC-KPMG Retail Sales Monitor for June 2023, revealed:

  • UK Total retail sales increased by 4.9% in June, against a decline of 1.0% in June 2022. This is above the 3-month average growth of 4.6% and the 12-month average growth of 4.0%.
  • UK Like-for-like retail sales increased by 4.2% in June, against a decline of 1.3% in June 2022. This was below the 3-month average growth of 4.3% and above the 12-month average growth of 3.6%.
  • Food sales increased 9.8% on a Total basis and 10.1% on a Like-for-like basis over the three months to June. This is above the 12-month Total average growth of 7.7%. For the month of June, Food was in growth year-on-year.
  • Non-Food sales increased 0.3% on a Total basis and decreased 0.5% on a like-for-like basis over the three-months to June. This is below the 12-month Total average growth of 0.8%. For the month of June, Non-Food was in growth year-on-year.
  • Over the three months to June, In-store Non-Food sales increased 2.0% on a Total basis and 0.6% on a Like-for-like basis since June 2022. This is below the Total 12-month average growth of 3.7%.
  • Online Non-Food sales decreased by 1.0% in June, against a decline of 9.1% in June 2022. This is shallower than the 3-month average decline of 2.4% and the 12-month decline of 3.2%.
  • The proportion of Non-Food items bought online (penetration rate) decreased to 35.3% in June from 35.9% in June 2022.

Bira Commercial Director Jeff Moody, said: “The latest BRC-KPMG Retail Sales Monitor for June 2023 provides an interesting snapshot of the current retail landscape. While the headline rate of retail sales shows a positive increase of 4.9% compared to last year, it’s important to note that non-food sales only saw a modest increase of 0.6% on a like-for-like basis over the last three months.

“This data suggests that consumer demand remains fragile, with online sales continuing to decline year on year. However, the good weather has enticed consumers back to the high street, resulting in an overall boost in retail sales.

“As we look ahead, it is crucial for the government to exercise caution in introducing further tax reforms, such as changes to the packaging levy. Additionally, the upcoming April Rates review should bring positive news for the retail sector if we want to sustain and build upon the recent increases in retail sales.

“It’s essential that we nurture and support the retail industry to foster growth and resilience. By creating an environment that encourages consumer confidence and providing favourable conditions for retailers, we can pave the way for continued success in the months to come,” he said.

Wilson Browne