UK retail sales pick up slightly while analysts warn of consumer sector stress over Brexit


UK retail sales pick up slightly while analysts warn of consumer sector stress over Brexit and inflation

The latest British Retail Consortium-KPMG Sales Monitor shows retail sales rose 1.3 per cent on a like-for-like basis on the same month a year earlier

  • Ben Chu Economics Editor
  • @Benchu_
  • Monday 4 September 2017 23:21 BST

The Independent Online

British retail consortium

Food sales were down 0.5 per cent year-on-year in the three months to August Getty

Retail sales picked up slightly in August, but analysts warned that the consumer sector’s stress was far from over given Brexit and rising inflation.

The latest British Retail Consortium-KPMG Sales Monitor shows that the value of retail sales rose 1.3 per cent on a like-for-like basis on the same month a year earlier.

On a total basis, sales were up 2.4 per cent.

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This was the strongest growth seen since Easter.

However, over the three months to August, the slowdown trend seen this year was still clear.

All sales were down 0.2 per cent on a like-for-like basis on the same period a year earlier, with food sales down 0.5 per cent.

Non-food sales were up just 0.2 per cent and food sales by 0.9 per cent.

“Stark challenges lurk around the corner for the retail industry. Purchasing decisions are very much dictated by a shrinking pool of discretionary consumer spend, with the amount of money in people’s pockets set to be dented by inflation and statutory rises in employee pension contributions in a few months’ time,” said Helen Dickinson, the chief executive of the BRC.

“Retailers have managed to achieve stronger than expected growth, however adding to this could be the fact that consumers appear to be turning a blind eye to the potential crush on spending power to come. The industry now needs to overcome further devaluation of the pound and the increased costs therein,” said Don Williams, retail partner of KPMG.

The Office for National Statistics reported that retail sales volumes – adjusted for inflation – were up just 0.3 per cent in July, with the annual rate dropping sharply from 1.3 per cent from 2.8 per cent previously.

Inflation in July was 2.6 per cent, unchanged from the previous month, but up from just 0.5 per cent at the time of the 2016 Brexit vote.

Many analysts expect inflation to hit 2.9 per cent later this year.

Retail sales account for around 30 per cent of household spending, which in turn accounts for around 60 per cent of UK GDP.

Consumer spending was responsible for the surprisingly strong GDP growth in the wake of last year’s referendum, and the slowdown since the turn of the year is largely responsible for the weakening of the economy in 2017.


Online Retail Sales Slip for First Time in Months – WWD, online retail sales.#Online #retail


Online Retail Sales Slip for First Time in Months

Online retail sales

Shutterstock / Solis Images

After a brief reprieve, retail sales slipped in August, surprisingly led by declines in online sales. Seasonally adjusted sales for apparel and accessories retailers fell 1 percent in August to $21.62 billion, compared to July, when month-over-month sales increased 0.5 percent to $21.83 billion. But compared with a year ago, sales in the sector were up 0.5 percent, according to new data from the U.S. Census Bureau. Department store sales fell 0.1 percent to $12.65 billion during the month, after rising 0.9 percent and hitting $21.83 billion in July. The performance in August was better than a year ago, when department store sales were down 0.8 percent. Breaking from the growth trend of recent years, sales at non-store retailers, a category that includes web sites and mail order houses, also fell in August, by 1.1 percent to $51.71 billion. In July non-store sales rose 1.8 percent to $52.28 billion and in August 2016, sales grew 8.4 percent. Sales at non-store retailers are still growing much faster than those for apparel retailers. Since last August, non-store sales are up 10.5 percent while sales for specialty and department stores are down 2.8 percent combined. Overall retail sales fell by 0.2 percent to $489.85 billion in August after a 0.3 percent increase in July, but year-over-year sales are up 3.2 percent. Charlie O’Shea, lead retail analyst at Moody’s Investor Service, said the August numbers show “a mixed bag, with the month-over-month drop indicative of a still-choppy environment for the U.S. consumer.” As for whether Hurricanes Harvey and Irma that have battered the southwest and southeast in recent weeks affected the monthly sales numbers, the Census Bureau said it doesn’t break out numbers by geographic location and that its data collection was generally uninterrupted. “While a few individual firms reported large increases or decreases in their sales because of the effects of the hurricane, this additional variation was not large enough to substantially affect the reliability of the published estimates,” the bureau said. James Bohnaker, associate director of economic research firm IHS Markit, said in a note that the August numbers no doubt showed “the early effects” of Harvey, but he expects “to see some payback once hurricane effects dissipate.” “The bigger story is that consumer spending looks to have been subdued even earlier in the summer,” Bohnaker said. “Retail sales initially appeared to be gaining momentum in June and July, but downward revisions make it very unlikely that consumer spending will come close to the 3.3 percent growth rate achieved in the second quarter.” The National Retail Federation earlier this month cut its expectations for annual retail sales, estimating they now will grow by no more than 3.8 percent after initially forecasting a maximum increase of 4.2 percent. For More, See:Fashion Faces a Still-Uncertain Second HalfNRF Says Retail Is Not DyingDavid Simon Blames Expensive Online ‘Chase’ for Retail Woes

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Government needs to support the welfare of supply chain workers, says British Retail Consortium, The


Government needs to support the welfare of supply chain workers, says British Retail Consortium

The comments follow reports of incidents of labour abuse in the supply chains of two Italian food giants that supply British supermarkets

  • Emma Featherstone
  • Thursday 26 October 2017 13:32 BST

The Independent Online

British retail consortium

Tinned tomatoes on British supermarket shelves may contain tomatoes picked migrant workers facing labour abuses Thomas Martinsen / Unsplash

The British Retail Consortium (BRC) has urged the Government to do more to ensure the welfare of supply chain workers, following reports earlier this week of labour abuses at factories that supply British supermarkets.

Earlier this week, The Guardian reported incidents of labour abuse in the supply chains of two Italian food giants – Mutti and Conserve Italia – which supply major British supermarkets with tinned tomatoes and passata.

The investigation involved fruit picking workers and reportedly began with the death of a Sudanese farm worker in the fields of Nardó, Southern Italy. The farm worker was reportedly hired under a so-called gangmaster system, that is in operation across the country’s agricultural sector, under which migrants are put into labour groups, which are then hired by Italian landowners.

British retail consortium

Supply chain transparency is key to ending worker exploitation

Peter Andrews, head of sustainability at the British Retail Consortium, said in a statement: “This is a tragic case and we expect the Italian authorities to carry out a full investigation. Where laws have been broken we expect the perpetrators to be brought to justice.”

Mr Andrews added that the welfare of workers in supply chains was of upmost importance and that BRC members would investigate any allegations of malpractice. He said that retailers in the UK put in place mechanisms to protect their supply chains, including codes of conduct and training, but that this needs to be supported by “effective government enforcement of labour standards”.

The Guardian reported that Italian prosecutor Paola Guglielmi had said that Mutti and Conserve Italia’s brand Cirio have been benefitting from “conditions of absolute exploitation” in the country’s multibillion-pound tomato industry.

It reported that court documents had shown that migrants had been forced to work for 12 hours a day, seven days a week, on minimal wage, with no access to medical care picking fruit that would be used in the goods of companies supplying to supermarkets around the world.

Neither Mutti nor Conserve Italia was immediately available for comment when contacted by The Independent.


Online Retail Sales Slip for First Time in Months – WWD, online retail sales.#Online #retail


Online Retail Sales Slip for First Time in Months

Online retail sales

Shutterstock / Solis Images

After a brief reprieve, retail sales slipped in August, surprisingly led by declines in online sales. Seasonally adjusted sales for apparel and accessories retailers fell 1 percent in August to $21.62 billion, compared to July, when month-over-month sales increased 0.5 percent to $21.83 billion. But compared with a year ago, sales in the sector were up 0.5 percent, according to new data from the U.S. Census Bureau. Department store sales fell 0.1 percent to $12.65 billion during the month, after rising 0.9 percent and hitting $21.83 billion in July. The performance in August was better than a year ago, when department store sales were down 0.8 percent. Breaking from the growth trend of recent years, sales at non-store retailers, a category that includes web sites and mail order houses, also fell in August, by 1.1 percent to $51.71 billion. In July non-store sales rose 1.8 percent to $52.28 billion and in August 2016, sales grew 8.4 percent. Sales at non-store retailers are still growing much faster than those for apparel retailers. Since last August, non-store sales are up 10.5 percent while sales for specialty and department stores are down 2.8 percent combined. Overall retail sales fell by 0.2 percent to $489.85 billion in August after a 0.3 percent increase in July, but year-over-year sales are up 3.2 percent. Charlie O’Shea, lead retail analyst at Moody’s Investor Service, said the August numbers show “a mixed bag, with the month-over-month drop indicative of a still-choppy environment for the U.S. consumer.” As for whether Hurricanes Harvey and Irma that have battered the southwest and southeast in recent weeks affected the monthly sales numbers, the Census Bureau said it doesn’t break out numbers by geographic location and that its data collection was generally uninterrupted. “While a few individual firms reported large increases or decreases in their sales because of the effects of the hurricane, this additional variation was not large enough to substantially affect the reliability of the published estimates,” the bureau said. James Bohnaker, associate director of economic research firm IHS Markit, said in a note that the August numbers no doubt showed “the early effects” of Harvey, but he expects “to see some payback once hurricane effects dissipate.” “The bigger story is that consumer spending looks to have been subdued even earlier in the summer,” Bohnaker said. “Retail sales initially appeared to be gaining momentum in June and July, but downward revisions make it very unlikely that consumer spending will come close to the 3.3 percent growth rate achieved in the second quarter.” The National Retail Federation earlier this month cut its expectations for annual retail sales, estimating they now will grow by no more than 3.8 percent after initially forecasting a maximum increase of 4.2 percent. For More, See:Fashion Faces a Still-Uncertain Second HalfNRF Says Retail Is Not DyingDavid Simon Blames Expensive Online ‘Chase’ for Retail Woes

To access this article, click here to subscribe or click here to log in.


Higher food and clothing prices drives retail sales growth – BBC News, online retail sales.#Online


Higher food and clothing prices drives retail sales growth

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    Higher prices for food and clothing prices driven up by the weak pound fuelled retail sales growth last month.

    British Retail Consortium (BRC) and KPMG figures showed that like-for-like retail sales rose 1.9% in September

    That was far higher than the 0.4% increase for the same month last year. Total sales climbed 2.3%.

    Much of this growth was due to price rises filtering through, particularly in food and clothing, said BRC chief executive Helen Dickinson.

    “Retailers have worked hard to keep a lid on price rises following the depreciation of the pound, but with a potent mix of more expensive imports and increasing business costs from various government policies, something had to give at some point,” she said.

    “Spending is still being focused towards essential purchases; with consumers buying their winter coats and back to school items, but shying away from big ticket items such as furniture and delaying the renewal of key household electrical goods.”

    The survey showed that food sales rose by 2.5% on a like-for-like basis over the three months to September and 3.5% in total, while non-food sales rose by just 0.5%, or by 0.9% on a total basis.

    Non-food sales in stores slumped 2% last month, and slid by 1.5% in total in the three months to September.

    Yet online sales for non-food surged 10.7% in September – well above the three-month average of 10% – as shoppers responded well to online discounts.

    Paul Martin, KPMG UK’s head of retail, said: “With potential interest rate rises on the horizon, shaky consumer confidence and ever-increasing levels of household debt, uncertainty remains.

    “We’re now moving into the final quarter, which will ultimately define whether 2017 has been a good or bad year for retailers.”


    Online Retail Sales Slip for First Time in Months – WWD, online retail sales.#Online #retail


    Online Retail Sales Slip for First Time in Months

    Online retail sales

    Shutterstock / Solis Images

    After a brief reprieve, retail sales slipped in August, surprisingly led by declines in online sales. Seasonally adjusted sales for apparel and accessories retailers fell 1 percent in August to $21.62 billion, compared to July, when month-over-month sales increased 0.5 percent to $21.83 billion. But compared with a year ago, sales in the sector were up 0.5 percent, according to new data from the U.S. Census Bureau. Department store sales fell 0.1 percent to $12.65 billion during the month, after rising 0.9 percent and hitting $21.83 billion in July. The performance in August was better than a year ago, when department store sales were down 0.8 percent. Breaking from the growth trend of recent years, sales at non-store retailers, a category that includes web sites and mail order houses, also fell in August, by 1.1 percent to $51.71 billion. In July non-store sales rose 1.8 percent to $52.28 billion and in August 2016, sales grew 8.4 percent. Sales at non-store retailers are still growing much faster than those for apparel retailers. Since last August, non-store sales are up 10.5 percent while sales for specialty and department stores are down 2.8 percent combined. Overall retail sales fell by 0.2 percent to $489.85 billion in August after a 0.3 percent increase in July, but year-over-year sales are up 3.2 percent. Charlie O’Shea, lead retail analyst at Moody’s Investor Service, said the August numbers show “a mixed bag, with the month-over-month drop indicative of a still-choppy environment for the U.S. consumer.” As for whether Hurricanes Harvey and Irma that have battered the southwest and southeast in recent weeks affected the monthly sales numbers, the Census Bureau said it doesn’t break out numbers by geographic location and that its data collection was generally uninterrupted. “While a few individual firms reported large increases or decreases in their sales because of the effects of the hurricane, this additional variation was not large enough to substantially affect the reliability of the published estimates,” the bureau said. James Bohnaker, associate director of economic research firm IHS Markit, said in a note that the August numbers no doubt showed “the early effects” of Harvey, but he expects “to see some payback once hurricane effects dissipate.” “The bigger story is that consumer spending looks to have been subdued even earlier in the summer,” Bohnaker said. “Retail sales initially appeared to be gaining momentum in June and July, but downward revisions make it very unlikely that consumer spending will come close to the 3.3 percent growth rate achieved in the second quarter.” The National Retail Federation earlier this month cut its expectations for annual retail sales, estimating they now will grow by no more than 3.8 percent after initially forecasting a maximum increase of 4.2 percent. For More, See:Fashion Faces a Still-Uncertain Second HalfNRF Says Retail Is Not DyingDavid Simon Blames Expensive Online ‘Chase’ for Retail Woes

    To access this article, click here to subscribe or click here to log in.


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    Online Retail Sales Slip for First Time in Months – WWD, online retail sales.#Online #retail


    Online Retail Sales Slip for First Time in Months

    Online retail sales

    Shutterstock / Solis Images

    After a brief reprieve, retail sales slipped in August, surprisingly led by declines in online sales. Seasonally adjusted sales for apparel and accessories retailers fell 1 percent in August to $21.62 billion, compared to July, when month-over-month sales increased 0.5 percent to $21.83 billion. But compared with a year ago, sales in the sector were up 0.5 percent, according to new data from the U.S. Census Bureau. Department store sales fell 0.1 percent to $12.65 billion during the month, after rising 0.9 percent and hitting $21.83 billion in July. The performance in August was better than a year ago, when department store sales were down 0.8 percent. Breaking from the growth trend of recent years, sales at non-store retailers, a category that includes web sites and mail order houses, also fell in August, by 1.1 percent to $51.71 billion. In July non-store sales rose 1.8 percent to $52.28 billion and in August 2016, sales grew 8.4 percent. Sales at non-store retailers are still growing much faster than those for apparel retailers. Since last August, non-store sales are up 10.5 percent while sales for specialty and department stores are down 2.8 percent combined. Overall retail sales fell by 0.2 percent to $489.85 billion in August after a 0.3 percent increase in July, but year-over-year sales are up 3.2 percent. Charlie O’Shea, lead retail analyst at Moody’s Investor Service, said the August numbers show “a mixed bag, with the month-over-month drop indicative of a still-choppy environment for the U.S. consumer.” As for whether Hurricanes Harvey and Irma that have battered the southwest and southeast in recent weeks affected the monthly sales numbers, the Census Bureau said it doesn’t break out numbers by geographic location and that its data collection was generally uninterrupted. “While a few individual firms reported large increases or decreases in their sales because of the effects of the hurricane, this additional variation was not large enough to substantially affect the reliability of the published estimates,” the bureau said. James Bohnaker, associate director of economic research firm IHS Markit, said in a note that the August numbers no doubt showed “the early effects” of Harvey, but he expects “to see some payback once hurricane effects dissipate.” “The bigger story is that consumer spending looks to have been subdued even earlier in the summer,” Bohnaker said. “Retail sales initially appeared to be gaining momentum in June and July, but downward revisions make it very unlikely that consumer spending will come close to the 3.3 percent growth rate achieved in the second quarter.” The National Retail Federation earlier this month cut its expectations for annual retail sales, estimating they now will grow by no more than 3.8 percent after initially forecasting a maximum increase of 4.2 percent. For More, See:Fashion Faces a Still-Uncertain Second HalfNRF Says Retail Is Not DyingDavid Simon Blames Expensive Online ‘Chase’ for Retail Woes

    To access this article, click here to subscribe or click here to log in.


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    • British retail consortium

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    Composite Prime launches HD Fence to rival traditional timber panels

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