- UK retail sales were down 0.8% on a like-for-like basis from June 2013, when they had increased 1.4% on the preceding year. On a total basis, sales were up 0.6%, against a 2.9% rise in June 2013.
- Excluding Easter distortions, this is the lowest total growth recorded since May 2011. However, the three-month average is in line with the twelve-month average of 2.5%
- Over the last three months, Food showed almost no total growth, at 0.1%, in contrast with the growth of 1.1% experienced over the last twelve months. Non-Food reported growth in line with the twelve-month average of 3.7% over the last four months – which irons out Easter distortions.
- Online sales of non-food products in the UK grew 10.6% in June versus a year earlier. The Non-Food online penetration rate was 17.2% in June, 0.9 percentage point higher than in June 2013.
Helen Dickinson, Director General, British Retail Consortium, said: Consumers continue to benefit from competitive pricing, which may be the cause of softer like-for-like sales in June. For retailers, it’s a bit of a mixed picture, with food sales down and non-food sales up but at a slower rate than in June. Are consumers pausing for a breath after the recent rush for revamping their homes? Could it be that they are feeling a touch more confident and have bought into fashion at full price, which in turn has encouraged some retailers to delay their summer sales? In this case, retailers may find that their margins are less affected than figures would suggest.
"On the other hand, the total value of overall food sales is still in decline but the lower pricing policies we have witnessed are good news for consumers who are set to continue to benefit from keen bargains in their shopping baskets.
"The recovery is still on track, however, we are detecting differences in attitudes from customers, perhaps led by the competitive environment for food prices. Consumers are delighted to be saving on their food bills, but are prepared to spend a little bit more on discretionary items."
David McCorquodale, Head of Retail, KPMG, said: "Concern over a potential rise in interest rates is having a dampening effect on retail sales. June saw the brakes applied to spending as shoppers put purchases of big ticket items on hold whilst they waited to see if the Bank of England would take action on interest rates. Even sales of home accessories and furniture flat-lined, which is surprising given the UK is reportedly in the midst of a housing boom.
"Sales in the food sector also struggled, with England’s early exit from the World Cup exacerbating the grocers’ problems. The price war continues to take a heavy toll on the profitability of the sector, which saw sales decline in value again this month.
Clothing retailers fared better, with glorious sunshine driving demand for summer clothes and shoes. These steady sales mean that most fashion retailers have not resorted to the deep discounting we have seen in previous years, and this will help them to hold on to their margins.
Looking forward, retailers have two months of tough comparables coming up after Murray mania, a heat-wave and the arrival of the royal baby boosted sales last year. This past performance will make like for likes look challenging over the next quarter.
Food & Drink sector performance – Joanne Denney-Finch, Chief Executive, IGD, said: "The World Cup provided a mild boost to food and drink sales but as with England’s participation, it was short-lived.
"Overall, the month’s sales figures were dampened by falling food inflation – with retailers cutting and simplifying prices across their staple products in particular. Shoppers tell us this is useful when pursuing the best value. Our latest ShopperVista research shows that people are finding it easier to compare grocery prices in store: two-thirds believe this is easy now, compared with 56 per cent in 2012."
The BRC-KPMG Retail Sales Monitor measures changes in the actual value (including VAT) of retail sales, excluding automotive fuel. The Monitor measures the value of spending and hence does not adjust for price or VAT changes. If prices are rising, sales volumes will increase by less than sales values. In times of price deflation, sales volumes will increase by more than sales values.
Retailers report the value of their sales for the current period and the equivalent period a year ago. These figures are reported both in total and on a ‘like-for-like’ basis.
Total sales growth is the percentage change in the value of all sales compared to the same period a year earlier. The total sales measure is used to assess market level trends in retail sales. It is a guide to the growth of the whole retail industry, or how much consumers in total are spending in retail – retail spending represents approximately one-third of consumer spending. It is this measure that is often used by economists. Many retailers include distance sales as a component of total sales.
'Like-for-like' sales growth (LFL) is the percentage change in the value of comparable sales compared to the same period a year earlier. It excludes any spending in stores that opened or closed in the intervening year, thus stripping out the effect on sales of changes in floorspace. Many retailers include distance sales as a component of like-for-like comparable sales.
The like-for-like measure is often used by retailers, the city and analysts to assess the performance of individual companies, retail sectors and the industry overall, without the distorting effect of changes in floorspace.
Online (including mail order and phone) sales of non-food are transactions which take place over the internet, or via mail order or phone. Online sales growth is the percentage change in the value of online sales compared to those in the same period a year earlier. It is a guide to the growth of sales made by these non-store channels. It should be noted that online sales are still a small proportion of total UK retail sales. Estimates based on ONS figures show about 10 per cent of total UK retail sales (food and non-food) are achieved via the internet.
The responses provided by retailers within each sales category are weighted*
(based on ONS weightings) to reflect the contribution of each category to total retail sales, thus making it representative of UK retail sales as a whole. Because the figures compare sales this month with the comparable period last year, a seasonal adjustment is not made. However, changes in the timing of Bank Holidays and Easter can create distortions, which should be considered in the interpretation of the data.
As well as receiving sales value direct from the retailers in the scheme the BRC-KPMG Retail Sales Monitor also receives food and drink sales value data from the IGD's Market Track Scheme.
In its role as sponsor of the BRC-KPMG Retail Sales Monitor, KPMG is responsible for the aggregation of the retail sales data provided by the retailers on a weekly basis. This data consists of the relevant current week’s sales data and comparative sales figures for the same period in the prior year. The aggregation has been performed by KPMG on data for periods following 2 April 2000 and equivalent prior periods. The accuracy of the data is entirely the responsibility of the retailers providing it. The sponsorship role has been performed by KPMG since 10 April 2000 and the same for the aggregation of comparative sales figures for the period from 2 April 2000 it is not responsible for the aggregation of any data included in this Monitor relating to any period prior to 2 April 2000.
* The aggregation of data for the weighted ‘online’ figures has been performed by the BRC and KPMG for periods starting 25 November 2012 and equivalent prior year periods. Prior to that date, the online figures in this monitor refer to the unweighted non-food non store indicator, as published in the BRC-KPMG Retail Sales Monitor until July 2013.
The commentary from KPMG is intended to be of general interest to readers but is not advice or a recommendation and should not be relied upon without first taking professional advice. Anyone choosing to rely on it does so at his or her own risk. To the fullest extent permitted by law, KPMG will accept no responsibility or liability in connection with its sponsorship of the Monitor and its aggregation work to any party other than the BRC.
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The July 2014 Monitor, covering the four weeks 6 July – 2 August, will be released at 00.01am Tuesday 12 August 2014.
The data is collected and collated for the BRC by KPMG.
The British Retail Consortium (BRC) is the UK's leading retail trade association. It represents the full range of retailers, large and small, multiples and independents, food and non-food, online and store based.
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KPMG LLP, a UK limited liability partnership, is a subsidiary of KPMG Europe LLP and operates from 22 offices across the UK with approximately 11,500 partners and staff. The UK firm recorded a turnover of £1.8 billion in the year ended September 2013. KPMG is a global network of professional firms providing Audit, Tax, and Advisory services. It operates in 155 countries and has 155,000 professionals working in member firms around the world. The independent member firms of the KPMG network are affiliated with KPMG International Cooperative ("KPMG International"), a Swiss entity. Each KPMG firm is a legally distinct and separate entity and describes itself as such.
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