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Tuesday 01st of June 2010
September 8, 2009    

BRC reports fall in UK retail sales in August

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by Kay Murchie

The British Retail Consortium (BRC) has today revealed a fall in retail sales for the month of August due to the rainfall which kept shoppers away from the High Street.

UK like-for-like sales (which excludes new stores) fell 0.1% compared with August 2008, according to the BRC.

Sales of clothing and footwear lost ground, while the brief recovery in furniture and homewares was short-lived, suggesting that consumers are still reluctant to spend on big-ticket items.

Stephen Robertson, the BRC’s director general. Comments: “The stronger figures of June and July haven’t been sustained.

“It’s clear the deceptively good sales growth of those months was due to summer sun and price cuts - not any major revival in how customers are feeling. What spending we now have is all about value and essentials,” added Robertson.

Commenting on the figures, Helen Dickinson, head of retail at KPMG, said: “The results for the month and the rest of the year need to be considered in the light of the performance last year, which continued to weaken as the year progressed. Negative like-for-like sales on the back of the same situation last year is leaving many retailers with some serious challenges around controlling costs and generating cash.”

In other news today, the Office for National Statistics revealed a rise in UK manufacturing output during July, boosted by a sharp improvement up in car production.

Factory output rose by 0.9% in July when compared with the previous month - treble the figure that analysts had forecast and the fastest rate in 18 months.

The rise in factory output resulted in a rise in Sterling, which rose more than 1% against the US dollar.

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