Food sales in the UK declined for the first time this year owing to a bout of cold and wet weather in July. According to the BRC-KPMG Retail Sales Monitor, like-for-like food sales were down 1.6%, excluding Easter distortions, in the three months to the end of July.
In fact, food was the worst performing category in July, a month that otherwise recorded overall growth in retail sales across all categories. Sales increased 1.2% on a like-for-like basis in July, while on a total basis sales rose 2.2%. Three of the top four performing categories were furniture, home accessories and house textiles.
“The overall figures indicate consumer confidence to be slowly winding its way to the tills,” feels David McCorquodale, KPMG head of retail.
“As the labour market continues to improve and real wages show strong growth it’s no surprise our extra disposable income seems to be being spent on more discretionary purchases,” believes Helen Dickinson, director-general, BRC. “Despite 27 consecutive months of falling shop prices it seems that consumers remain content to budget carefully on their necessary food outlay and spend that little bit more on purchases they have perhaps deferred.”
“Sales were down due to disappointing weather because food and drink sales are particularly influenced by the weather at this time of year,” adds Joanne Denney-Finch, IGD chief executive.