On a total basis, sales decreased by 1.3% in June, against an increase of 2.3% in June 2018, according to new data from the BRC.
The group said the decline dragged the three-month average into a decline of 0.1% and the 12-month average to an increase of 0.6%, the lowest since its records began in December 1995.
During the month, UK retail sales decreased by 1.6% on a like-for-like basis from June 2018, when they had increased 1.1% from the preceding year. This is lower than the three-month and 12-month averages of -0.4% and -0.1% respectively, and represents the worst 12-month average since April 2012.
Additionally, over the three months to June, in-store sales of non-food items declined 4.3% on a total basis and 4.1% on a like-for-like basis – worse than the 12-month total average decline of 2.8%.
Helen Dickinson, CEO of the BRC, said: “June sales could not compete with last year’s scorching weather and World Cup, leading to the worst June on record. Sales of TVs, garden furniture and BBQs were all down, with fewer impulse purchases being made.
“Overall, the picture is bleak: rising real wages have failed to translate into higher spending as ongoing Brexit uncertainty led consumers to put off non-essential purchases.”
She added: “The continued risk of a no-deal Brexit is harming consumer confidence and forcing retailers to spend hundreds of millions of pounds putting in place mitigations – this represents time and resources that would be better spent improving customer experience and prices. It is vital that the next prime minister can find a solution that avoids a no-deal Brexit on 31 October, just before the busy Black Friday and Christmas periods.”