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Olympics blamed for slow UK retail sales in August

Laura  Barnes
Olympics blamed for slow UK retail sales in August

The British Retail Consortium and KPMG have released their latest retail sales monitor for the UK, revealing a decline in sales for August.

The stats reveal that on a total basis, sales declined 0.3%, against a 0.1% increase in August 2015. This is the weakest performance since September 2014, excluding Easter distortions.

On a three-month basis, total UK retail sales rose 0.6%, half the rate of the 12-month average of 1.2%.

"A month of extraordinary achievement for Team GB certainly produced a feel-good effect and consumer confidence was up on July, but that generally didn't translate into extra sales. Consumers were enticed towards leisure and outdoor activities rather than shopping,” said Helen Dickinson OBE, Chief Executive, British Retail Consortium.
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David McCorquodale, Head of Retail at KPMG added: "In contrast to July, August's retail figures illustrate somewhat of a U-turn of retail fortunes. Like-for-like sales were down 0.9 per cent on this time last year - painting a disappointing picture given previous signs of encouragement.”

On the subject of online sales, Dickinson commented: "Online echoed the performance of total sales this month, with growth slowing to just 6.2 per cent, well below the 12-month average of 11.1 per cent. People's attention on screens turned to watching the Olympics rather than browsing, resulting in the lowest growth for online non-food sales since March 2013.

"Online as a proportion of total non-food retail sales remains above 20 per cent, contributing positively to total non-food sales growth, while store sales registered a decline. Today's figures are a reflection of a month of lower sales growth across the board as people focussed their energies on outdoor leisure activities rather than shopping.”

She concluded: "The fact that online continues to be the key driver of sales growth is both testament to and a driver of innovation in the industry. Despite continuing uncertainty and swings in consumer confidence since the referendum retailers continue to invest in optimising their digital platforms, which have already become an integral part of the customer journey."

Tags: Retail , sales , kpmg , Olympics , brc

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