According to the latest figures from the British Retail consortium (BRC) UK retail sales values rose 0.5% on a like-for-like basis from July 2009, when sales had increased 1.8%. On a total basis, sales were up 2.6% against a 3.6% increase in July 2009.
Food sales growth picked up, though the growth was flattered by a smaller gain a year ago. Clothing sales growth was boosted by clearance deals but footwear was more difficult. Homewares fell back, with big-ticket items in particular hit by consumer uncertainty over job cuts and income prospects.
Non-food non-store sales (internet, mail-order and phone sales) slowed in July and were 11.3% higher than a year ago, the weakest growth for almost a year.
Stephen Robertson, Director General, British Retail Consortium, said, "These are poor results for non-food retailing, with some sectors actually seeing sales fall. The vitality has even faded from online sales growth. By contrast food sales continue to be resilient.
“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.
“Talk of public spending cuts is unsettling customers and they are concentrating on essentials.
"It's clear the recovery continues to need support. The Bank of England must resist pressure to increase interest rates too soon.”
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