Retailers see 'bleak' June as sun fails to shine on sales
9 July 2019, 07:04 | Updated: 9 July 2019, 08:11
Retailers suffered their worst June on record last month as they grappled with Brexit uncertainty and struggled to match a period last year when they were boosted by hot weather and the World Cup, industry figures show.
The British Retail Consortium said the 1.6% fall in like-for-like sales came amid a "bleak" picture for stores as worries over a possible no-deal Brexit put consumers off making some purchases.
It was the biggest decline for June since the BRC's records began in 1995.
BRC chief executive Helen Dickinson said: "June sales could not compete with last year's scorching weather and World Cup, leading to the worst June on record.
"Sales of TVs, garden furniture and barbecues were all down, with fewer impulse purchases being made.
"Overall, the picture is bleak: rising real wages have failed to translate into higher spending as ongoing Brexit uncertainty led consumers to put off non-essential purchases."
Ms Dickinson said consumer confidence was being damaged by the continued risk of a no-deal Brexit, adding that businesses and the public "desperately need clarity" on the issue.
She added that retailers had been forced to spend hundreds of millions of pounds putting in place contingency plans in case the UK crashes out of the EU without a deal.
"This represents time and resources that would be better spent improving customer experience and prices," she said.
Last week, supermarket bosses warned that a potential 31 October no-deal Brexit date would be "as bad as it gets" as they build up stock ahead of Christmas.
(c) Sky News 2019: Retailers see 'bleak' June as sun fails to shine on sales