Retail Sales Monitor

Shoppers Tighten Belts Once Again as Sales Fall

  • James Hardiman avatar
    James Hardiman Senior Analyst | BRC
  • Tina Spooner avatar
    Tina Spooner Strategic Insight Manager | BRC

Helen Dickinson OBE, Chief Executive, BRC: 

Sales volumes are falling to a rate not seen since the depths of the pandemic, as inflation continues to bite, and households cut back spending. Discretionary purchases were hit hard, especially white goods and homeware, while consumers also traded down to cheaper brands in food and non-food alike. While the Jubilee weekend gave food sales a temporary boost, and fashion sales benefited from the summer holiday and wedding season, this was not enough to counter the substantial slowdown in consumer spending.
Retailers are caught between significant rising costs in their supply chains and protecting their customers from price rises. The government needs to get creative and find ways to help relieve some of this cost pressure – the upcoming consultation on transitional relief is a golden opportunity to ensure that retailers aren't overpaying on their business rates bills. Government action on transitional relief would make a meaningful difference to retailers’ costs and ease pressure on prices for customers.

Paul Martin, UK Head of Retail, KPMG: 

Retail sales continued to slide for the third month in a row, albeit down just 1% on what was a strong June 2021 and against a backdrop of unprecedented price rises on the high street.
Online shopping continued to move in reverse with total sales down 9% as non-food purchases related to the home, such as furniture, home appliances and computing, suffered the biggest falls in online spending. The jubilee weekend, which saw street parties across the UK, provided some relief for food and drink retailers as sales grew by nearly 1.5% year on year, despite the rising cost across most items.
As the cost living crisis continues to deepen, retailers face walking a fine line between protecting margins and further denting consumer confidence by passing on price rises whilst negotiating with their suppliers to share the cost increases. Cost and efficiency will dominate retailers’ agendas as they are forced to make some tough decisions on which products make it to the shelves in order to remain price competitive for consumers. With a long run of hot weather predicted and many consumers choosing to holiday at home this summer, retailers will be hoping that the feel-good factor begins to improve confidence amongst some shoppers – as presently overall confidence levels are lower than sales may suggest.

Food & Drink sector performance, Susan Barratt, CEO, IGD: 

Food and drink sales fluctuated week by week in June, and with volume sales down and value sales up, we can clearly see inflation coming through. However, the overall downward sales trend for volumes means the outlook continues to be challenging, although good weather might provide a welcome boost in July.
IGD’s Shopper Confidence Index reached a new record low in June as shoppers contend with the cost-of-living crisis. We’re forecasting that food inflation will reach 15% this summer and our ShopperVista research shows that shoppers are increasingly trying to save money in every part of their lives. Unsurprisingly, shopping habits are changing; some 60% of shoppers are now spending time to save money, up from 55% in March. With record petrol prices, being able to walk to a grocery store is also increasingly important with 27% of shoppers agreeing this is a driver of store choice, compared to 24% in May.


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