British retail sales growth slowed in July despite the London Olympics, as a sunny spell towards the end of the month failed to make up for weeks of rain which put consumers off shopping, according to the British Retail Consortium (BRC).
The BRC’s findings support other surveys and retailers’ reports, demonstrating that there was no Olympics boost in July and that growth seen the previous month declined.
UK retail sales values were up 0.1% on a like-for-like basis from July 2011, when they were up 0.6% on a year ago. On a total basis, sales were up 2.0%, against a 2.5% rise in July 2011, according to BRC.
The value of total retail sales, a measure favoured by economists and closer to that found in official statistics, was 2.0 percent up on the year, after a 3.5 percent climb in June.
“July was clearly not a golden month for retail.” said Stephen Robertson, Director General, British Retail Consortium.
“Like-for-like sales were virtually flat compared with a year ago and total growth of two per cent was still behind inflation as consumers, dealing with squeezed budgets, prioritised their spending on essentials.
“After the June wash-out, more wet weather in July continued to stifle demand for outdoor gear.
“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.
“The brightest spot was clothing and footwear thanks to cooler weather coinciding with autumn ranges reaching the shops.
“Consumers responded enthusiastically to the chance to refresh their wardrobes with items they could make use of straightaway. Some retailers also benefitted from the longer Sunday opening hours brought in for the Olympic period.
“With only the opening couple of days of the Olympic Games covered by these statistics we’ll have to wait a while to assess the overall impact on retail sales.
“Let’s hope Team GB keeps on increasing its medal tally, bringing a feelgood factor that helps consumer confidence.” Robertson added.