UK Retail Spending Picks Up In May
After two straight months of flat sales, retail spending in the UK took a slight increase, according to the British Retail Consortium (BRC).
Spending rose by 1.4% compared to the same month last year, and like-for-like sales rose by 0.5%. The increase, which the BRC admitted was "not spectacular", is in line with the 12-month average of 1.5%.
Despite the increase, the Retail Sales Monitor produced by the BRC and KPMG showed that spending is still relatively low, as UK consumers are hesitant to spend in an uncertain economy.
Helen Dickinson OBE, Chief Executive of the British Retail Consortium, said: "With signs that the UK’s economy is slowing, it’s unlikely that this is the beginning of a complete reversal of fortunes. The uncertain outlook means that customers will remain cautious with their spending, therefore we expect sales figures to Like-for-Like remain volatile for the time being.
"While this month's pick-up in sales will come as a welcome relief, it's still a challenging time for retailers. Shop price deflation continues and intensity of competition is fierce. Controlling costs and improving efficiency and productivity will be crucial for retailers as they continue to navigate increasingly tough trading conditions."
“Overall, retail sales showed some improvement in the month, up 1.4% in total versus May last year. Despite rain dampening the May Day mood, fashion sales finally lifted following a tough three months of trading for retailers," said David McCorquodale, Head of Retail in KPMG.
"The appearance of some spring sunshine encouraged consumers to hit the sales and take advantage of early summer promotions."
As well as uncertainty in the British economy due, in no small part, to the looming EU referendum, deflation also continues to affect the retail sector in the UK.
© 2016 European Supermarket Magazine – your source for the latest retail news. Article by John Golden. To subscribe to ESM: The European Supermarket Magazine, click here.