Consumer Spending: the lowest since records began

CONSUMER SPENDING LEFT LANGUISHING: British Retail Consortium (BRC)

Covering the four weeks 30 June – 27 July 2019

  • On a total basis, sales increased by 0.3% in July, against an increase of 1.6% in July 2018. This is the lowest figure recorded for the month of July since BRC records began in 1995 and comes after the worst June on records. This is above the 3-month average of -1.3% but below the 12-month average of 0.5%. This is the lowest 12-month average on records.
  • UK retail sales increased by 0.1% on a like-for-like basis from July 2018, when they had increased 0.5% from the preceding year. This is above the 3-month and 12-month averages of -1.5% and -0.2% respectively.
  • Over the three months to July, in-store sales of Non-Food items declined 4.1% on a Total basis and 4.0% on a like-for-like basis. This is worse than the 12-month Total average decline of 2.6%.
  • Over the three months to July, Food sales decreased 1.0% on a Like-for-like basis and 0.3% on a Total basis. This is below the 12-month Total average growth of 1.8% and the lowest 3-month average since December 2014, excluding Easter distortions.
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Inflation falls

Consumer price inflation, UK: February 2018: ONS

  • The Consumer Prices Index (CPI) 12-month rate was 2.7% in February 2018, down from 3.0% in January 2018.
  • The Consumer Prices Index including owner occupiers’ housing costs (CPIH) 12-month inflation rate was 2.5% in February 2018, down from 2.7% in January 2018.
  • The largest downward contributions to the change in the rate came from transport and food prices, which rose by less than a year ago.
  • Falling prices for accommodation services also had a downward effect.
  • Rising prices for footwear produced the largest, partially offsetting, upward contribution.

Inflation on the rise

UK consumer price inflation: May 2017 – ONS

  • The Consumer Prices Index including owner occupiers’ housing costs 12-month inflation rate was 2.7% in May 2017, up from 2.6% in April.
  • The rate has been steadily increasing following a period of relatively low inflation in 2015 and is at its highest since April 2012.
  • Rising prices for recreational and cultural goods and services (particularly games, toys and hobbies) was the main contributor to the increase in the rate.
  • There were smaller upward contributions from increased electricity and food prices.
  • These upward contributions were partially offset by falls in motor fuel prices, and air and sea fares, the latter two influenced by the timing of Easter in April this year.
  • The Consumer Prices Index (CPI) 12-month rate was 2.9% in May 2017, up from 2.7% in April.

Retail sales quantities up

Retail sales in Great Britain: Apr 2017 – ONS

  • In April 2017, the quantity bought in the retail industry increased by 2.3% compared with March 2017 and by 4.0% compared with April 2016.
  • The underlying pattern, as measured by the 3 month on 3 month estimate, showed a slight increase in April 2017 following a short period of contraction, increasing by 0.3%.
  • Anecdotal evidence from retailers suggests that good weather contributed to growth.
  • Average prices slowed slightly in April 2017, falling from 3.3% in March to 3.1% in April.

Retail sales continue to fall

Retail sales in Great Britain: Mar 2017 – ONS

  • The 3 months to March shows a decrease of 1.4%; the third consecutive decrease for the underlying 3 month on 3 month pattern.
  • Looking at the quarterly movement, the 3 months to March 2017 (Quarter 1) is the first quarterly decline since 2013 (Quarter 4).
  • In March 2017, the quantity bought in the retail industry is estimated to have increased by 1.7% compared with March 2016 and decreased by 1.8% compared with February 2017; decreases are seen across the four main store types.
  • Average store prices (including fuel) increased by 3.3% on the year, the largest growth since March 2012; the largest contribution came from petrol stations, where year-on-year average prices rose by 16.4%.
  • Online sales (excluding automotive fuel) increased year-on-year by 19.5% and by 0.5% on the month, accounting for approximately 15.5% of all retail spending

Declining Retail Sales

Retail sales in Great Britain: Feb 2017 – ONS

  • Estimates of the quantity bought in retail sales increased by 3.7% compared with February 2016 and increased by 1.4% compared with January 2017; this monthly growth is seen across all store types.
  • The underlying pattern as suggested by the 3 month on 3 month movement decreased by 1.4% for the second month in a row; the largest decrease since March 2010 and only the second fall since December 2013.
  • Average store prices (including fuel) increased by 2.8% on the year, the largest growth since March 2012; the largest contribution came from petrol stations, where year-on-year average prices rose by 18.7%.
  • Online sales (excluding automotive fuel) increased year-on-year by 20.7% and by 3.3% on the month, accounting for approximately 15.3% of all retail spending.

Inflation rises to 1%

UK consumer price inflation: Sept 2016

  • The Consumer Prices Index (CPI) rose by 1.0% in the year to September 2016, compared with a 0.6% rise in the year to August.
  • The rate in September 2016 was the highest since November 2014, when it was also 1.0%.
  • The main upward contributors to change in the rate were rising prices for clothing, overnight hotel stays and motor fuels, and prices for gas, which were unchanged, having fallen a year ago.
  • These upward pressures were partially offset by a fall in air fares and food prices.