Consumer confidence has slumped to a new low as figures released yesterday show that non-food sales haven’t been lower since the end of the 1990s recession.
The Office of National Statistics reported that non-food sales over the last three months to February declined by 1.7% - the largest fall since 1992 and total sales (including food) declined by 0.6% against the same period last year. Results like these almost certainly herald a year of little or no growth in the sector.
Some retailers are hoping spring sales promotions will boost demand - Marks & Spencer started a sale yesterday offering discounts of up to 50% across all departments - but the confusing weather pattern isn’t helping.
In Brighton & Hove the local picture continues to be no better than that nationally. In the week when retailers received their new Uniform Business Rate invoices which in most cases have increased dramatically, hopes are being pinned on the warm weather lasting until the Easter weekend when the city traditionally enjoys a large tourist boost.
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Marks & Spencer
Office of National Statisitics