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Retail sales fell in July

by LLB Editor
18th Aug 23 8:25 am

Retail sales volumes fell by an estimated 1.2% in July, following a rise of 0.6% in June, figures showed today.

The month saw declines in both Food (down 2.6%) and non-food (down 1.7%) store sales.

Retail sales had been expected to fall by 0.5% (Trading Economics).

Charlie Huggins, Manager of the Quality Shares Portfolio at Wealth Club, commented: “Retail sales volumes in July came in worse than expected, with unusually wet weather putting a dampener on sales of summer clothing and reducing store footfall.

Online sales were more robust, rising by 2.8%, helped by promotions and the poor weather.

The big question is  – is weather the only culprit or is this the sign that cost of living pressures are really starting to bite?

It may be a bit of both, but the weather is likely to be the biggest factor. This was the 6th wettest July on record and the fact is the weather Gods always play a big part in consumer’s spending habits.

Results from retailers themselves suggest consumer spending still remains quite robust. Earlier this week M&S upgraded profit expectations, while Next, the bellwether of the UK high street, has also seen much stronger than expected trading in recent months.

So we probably shouldn’t read too much into these weaker than expected figures. That said, with mortgage rates having increased significantly in recent months, it is likely that pressure on consumers will build in the second half.”

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