Commenting on today’s ONS retail sales figures, Ian Geddes, head of retail at Deloitte, said:
15 August 2019
“The hottest July on record saw retail sales soar alongside temperatures, as year-on-year sales values and volumes increased 3.9% and 3.3% respectively. Month-on-month, both values and volumes also saw growth of 0.2% each.
“Last summer’s strong retail performance, a season defined by prolonged warm weather, a Royal Wedding and a football World Cup to boot, should have been a tough act to follow. Whilst year-on-year food sales have struggled to repeat themselves this July (down 0.5%), the arrival of ‘t-shirt and shorts’ weather in the UK combined with promotional activity boosted clothing sales as non-food grew 1.4% year-on-year. Final end-of-season discounting also encouraged purchases in department stores which saw growth, of 1.6%, for the first time this year. However, an uplift in sales was seen most strikingly online, up 12.7% compared to this time last year.
“July’s positive sales will come as a surprise to many as negative headlines continue to dominate coverage of the retail sector. However, real-wages remain high, growing faster than at any time since the financial crisis. Interest and inflation rates are at historically low levels, and unemployment, despite a recent increase, also remains low, all pointing to possible gains in spending power. However, the retail industry as a whole remains under pressure and, as discounting has come to a seasonal close, we could see a slowdown of sales for the remainder of summer.
“Brexit uncertainty could also continue to impact overall consumer confidence and household expenditure for the time being. The opportunity for retailers in the long-term is through investment in growing their digital sales and transforming their in-store experiences, be it hosting fitness classes or opening nail bars.”
Notes to editors
In this press release references to Deloitte are references to Deloitte LLP, which is among the country's leading professional services firms.
Deloitte LLP is the United Kingdom member firm of Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited (“DTTL”), a UK private company limited by guarantee, whose member firms are legally separate and independent entities. Please see www.deloitte.co.uk/about for a detailed description of the legal structure of DTTL and its member firms.
The information contained in this press release is correct at the time of going to press.
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