18 Jul 2019

Retailers produce some bounce back ability

Growth continues, albeit slower, as businesses gear up for a crunch six months

The key findings from the Office for National Statistics showed:

  • In the three months to June 2019, the quantity bought increased by 0.7%, with growth across all sectors except food stores and department stores; however, this was a slowdown from the stronger growth of 1.6% in the three months to May 2019.
  • The quantity bought in June 2019 increased by 1.0% when compared with May 2019; non-food stores provided the largest contribution to this growth.
  • The year-on-year growth rate shows that the quantity bought in June 2019 increased by 3.8%, with growth across all sectors except department stores, while May 2019 was at 2.2% for the year-on-year growth rate.
  • Online sales as a proportion of all retailing fell to 18.9% in June 2019, from the 19.3% reported in May 2019.

Phil Mullis, Partner and Head of Retail and Wholesale at one of the UK’s leading business advisory firms, Wilkins Kennedy, said: “Results showing growth are slightly surprising in a good way when you consider the volatile backdrop that retailers are trading in.

“The impact of Brexit uncertainty isn’t going away, and retailers will be looking to our next prime minister to address this with some decisiveness over the coming weeks, along with putting into practice some of the pledges that have been made regarding cutting business rates and corporation tax.

“I would draw people’s attention to the three-month on three-month comparison as this is down in terms of both volume and value in June compared to May – I would hope that the trend shows growth ahead.

“For 16 consecutive months the UK has experienced wages outpacing overall inflation but that doesn’t appear to be filtering through to the high street. 

“Retailers are preparing for the golden Christmas period - where a lot of their annual sales are made - not knowing if they’ll be riding the crest of a wave from a Brexit deal, or the misery of coping with a no-deal scenario needing to make extra sales to stay afloat.

“The sooner we have some clarity on the country’s relationship with Europe, the better.”

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