Press releases

Deloitte comments on ONS retail sales

20 June 2019

Commenting on today’s ONS retail sales figures, Ian Geddes, head of retail at Deloitte, said:

“Month-on-month, May saw both retail sales values and volumes decrease by -0.3% and -0.5%, respectively, following April’s record-breaking warm weather and subsequent spending boost. Compared to May 2018, however, year-on-year sales were up by 2.7% and volumes similarly up by 2.3%.

“In contrast to Easter’s unseasonably high temperatures, early May bank holiday showers put a slight dampener on consumer spending. Food and non-food sales saw some growth of 1.2% and 0.2% but both saw a marked slowdown. Whilst online sales growth remained flat month-on-month, it is up 8.2% compared to the same time last year. This will be welcome news for clothing and footwear retailers, in particular, which continue to face a tough retail environment on the high street.

“Household incomes have remained robust this year with unemployment, interest and inflation rates all remaining low. Such strong economic fundamentals should boost spending, though Brexit uncertainty continues to fuel a gradual decline in consumer confidence.

“The grey clouds that have continued to gather in June may foretell further headwinds for retailers for the rest of the month. Summer’s sales values and volumes will be weather-dependent and retailers will be eagerly awaiting the return of sunshine and warm weather.

“As we head into summer, those retailers that continue to invest in their digital sales and recognise shifting consumer demand for new in-store experiences will be well-placed to face the challenges ahead, whatever the weather.”


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