July retail sales disappoint

Sunshine and the Olympics did not get consumers spending, says the BRC.
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Sunny spells and the opening of the Olympic games in July failed to get consumers spending after weeks of rain.

Last month like-for-like retail sales rose just 0.1 per cent compared to July 2011 when sales rose 0.6 per cent.

While 0.1 per cent is still growth, the figure looks bad when compared to June where sales rose 1.4 per cent.

The news comes from the latest figures released by the British Retail Consortium (BRC), which also revealed that total sales, including new stores, were up two per cent compared with 2.5 per cent in the same period last year.

Interestingly, the BRC's three-month rolling average shows growth of like-for-like non-food sales outpacing food sales for the first time.

"July was clearly not a golden month for retail," said BRC director general Stephen Robertson.

"After the June wash-out, more wet weather in July continued to stifle demand for outdoor gear," he added.

"There was a boost for food retailers towards the end of the month as the sunshine came out and shoppers started getting in party food and drink ahead of the Olympics, but it wasn't a significant help."

However Robertson said that the figures for July only tracked the first two days of the London 2012 games and added that we could see an uplift in August’s figures.

"Let's hope Team GB keeps on increasing its medal tally, bringing a feel-good factor that helps consumer confidence". Robertson said.

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