Worst September for retailers since BRC records began in 1995 as shoppers put off spending amid ‘Brexit gridlock’ and ‘spectre of no-deal’
- Retail sales fell 1.3% in September, compared with a 0.7% rise the year before
- It’s the worst September for the retail industry since the sales monitor began
- BRC-KPMG said that the ‘spectre’ of a possible no deal is putting shoppers off
Last month was the worst September for spending since at least 1995, a report has found, as the political ‘gridlock’ and looming threat of a no-deal Brexit makes life even harder for retailers.
The ‘spectre’ of a disorderly exit from the EU is weighing on shoppers’ purchasing decisions, said the British Retail Consortium (BRC) and KPMG, which found that total retail sales fell by 1.3 per cent last month.
That compares to a 0.7 per cent uplift in September the year before.
British Retail Consortium (BRC) and KPMG found that total retail sales fell by 1.3% last month
The closely followed retail sales monitor found that like-for-like sales tumbled 1.7 per cent annually.
Boss of the British Retail Consortium (BRC) Helen Dickinson said the slowdown was ‘no surprise’ given the current political environment.
‘With the spectre of a no-deal weighing increasingly on consumer purchasing decisions, it is no surprise that sales growth has once again fallen into the red,’ she said.
‘Many consumers held off from non-essential purchases, or shopped around for the bigger discounts, while the new autumn clothing ranges suffered from the warmer September weather.’
‘Worryingly’, even online sales growth ‘moved closer to stalling’, added KPMG’s head of retail Paul Martin.
Online sales of non-food items grew advanced just 0.7 per cent last month – the worst ever recorded and a far cry from the 5.4 per cent jump in September 2018.
‘Consumers are choosing to focus on the essentials, with food one of the few categories delivering growth,’ Martin said.
KPMG’s Paul Martin predicts an increase in Sales and promotions in order to drive revenue
‘We will likely experience increased promotional activity to clear surplus stock, which doesn’t bear well for retailers desperately trying to make up for lost ground after several difficult months.’
Commenting on the impact of Brexit, Dickinson said the ‘ongoing political gridlock surrounding Brexit is harming both consumers and retailers’.
She continued: ‘Clarity is needed over our future trading relationship with our closest neighbours and it is vitally important that Britain does not leave the EU without a deal.’
The figures are in line with the gloomy results of a rival survey, which was published last week and looks specifically at the performance of physical ‘bricks-and-mortar’ retailers.
The BDO study said it was the worst September on the High Street since the aftermath of the financial crisis.