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July washout helps drive down retail sales
08 August 2023

Retail sales slowed in July as washout weather impacted consumer spending, according to the British Retail Consortium KPMG Retail Sales Monitor.

Total UK retail sales increased 1.5% in the four weeks to 29 July, a marked downturn from the previous July’s 2.3% growth and below the three-month average of 3.5%.


Total food sales increased by 8.4% – above the 12-month average growth of 7.8% – as inflation eased slightly from its high of 19.2% in March.

Meanwhile, total non-food sales fell by 0.5% over the three months to July, below the 12-month total average growth of 0.6%.

Online sales continued to slide, falling nearly 7% year-on-year, with just a handful of categories such as furniture, health and beauty performing well.

Helen Dickinson, CEO of the British Retail Consortium, said: "The slowing pace of retail price inflation fed through into slower sales this July.

"Spend was further depressed by the damp weather, which did no favours to sales of clothing, and other seasonal goods.

"Online spending was down again year-on-year as the post-pandemic trend back to stores continued, leading to the lowest proportion of non-food sales online since the pandemic began."

Paul Martin, UK Head of Retail at KPMG, added: "We are starting to see a big rise in the number of promotions that retailers are putting in place in order to get shoppers through the door, as they battle to keep market share.

"Price-conscious consumers are shopping more carefully, more aware of where bargains can be found and what they are getting for their money – which is biting hard into retail margins and profitability.

"UK consumers have been hugely resilient throughout the cost-of-living crisis, but stubbornly high inflation coupled with rapidly rising interest rates will test their ability and willingness to keep on spending for the rest of this year.

"Both consumers and retailers are finding that they are having to get used to doing more with less as conditions remain incredibly challenging."

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