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Disappointing figures, as heatwave and World Cup keep shoppers away

Published: 19 July 2018 - Fiona Garcia


Non-food sales suffered in June, according to the latest ONS Retail Sales Index (RSI), falling 0.6% in volume terms, whilst online reported some uplifts.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) reported that retail sales in June grew 2.9% on an annual basis – a figure that fell short of economists' forecasts of 3.9%. The RSI revealed that month-on-month growth turned negative, with sales declining 0.5% between May and June.

During June, both the amount spent and quantity bought showed a negative contribution to growth at 0.3% 0.5% respectively.

Non-food stores had a tough time and provided the largest downwards contribution on the month for both the amount spent and quantity bought, at 0.4% and -0.6% respectively. Feedback from retailers suggest that footfall in these sectors was affected by the warm weather and the World Cup celebrations.

Commenting on the sales figures, ONS senior statistician Rhian Murphy said: “Retail sales grew strongly across the three months to June 2018 as the warm weather encouraged shoppers to buy food and drink for their BBQs.

“However, in June retail sales actually fell back slightly, with continued growth in food sales offset by declining spending in many other shops as consumers stayed away from stores and instead enjoyed the World Cup and the heatwave.”

Online was a slightly better story, with household goods retailers reporting 3% month-on-month growth, up 15.8% on the same period last year. Online sales account for 12.2% of total retailing within the household goods category. In non-food overall, which includes other retailers and department stores, online sales saw month-on-month growth of 1.4% in June, up 20.8% year on year. A total of 14.4% of sales within the non-food category take place online.

Immediately after the ONS published the figures on Thursday, July 19, the value of the pound dipped sharply against the dollar, dropping below $1.30 but recovered later in the day.


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