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High Street

Consumer spending in September dips amid ‘summer hangover’

UK retail sales decreased by 0.2% on a like-for-like compared with September 2017, when it had increased 1.9% from the preceding year.

According to new figures from the British Retail Consortium (BRC) and KPMG’s sales monitor, total sales increased by only 0.7% in September, against an increase of 2.3% in September 2017.

Over the three months to September, in-store sales of non-food items decreased by 2.7% on a total basis and 4% on a like-for-like basis, and food sales increased 2.3% on a like-for-like basis and 3.4% on a total basis.

Helen Dickinson, CEO of the BRC, said: “These figures lay bare the difficult operating environment for the retail industry. After a challenging August, constrained consumer spending in September has resulted in the weakest sales growth for five months.

“The retail industry pays a disproportionate amount of tax. It represents 5% of the economy but pays 10% of business tax and almost 25% of business rates. A tax system skewed towards high taxes on people and property is contributing to stores closures and job losses and is stalling the successful reinvention of our high streets.”

Richard Stables, CEO of price comparison firm Kelkoo, told Retail Sector: “Today’s figures from by the British Retail Consortium drives home the critical need for retailers to fully embrace ecommerce.”

“Whilst in-store sales suffered yet again, online sales enjoyed strong growth. This surge indicates that a drop in disposable income alongside ever-developing consumer habits demanding convenience, retailers simply have to ensure that they deliver customers with a strong user experience and better value. As consumers are constrained to smaller budgets, they will look to shop around to secure the best deal available on the market.”

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