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PwC comments on June 2022 ONS retail sales figures

22 Jul 2022

Commenting on the Office of National Statistics retail sales figures for June 2022,

Lisa Hooker, Industry Leader for Consumer Markets at PwC, said:

"While the decline in headline retail sales appears to have slowed down since May, June’s numbers confirm a worsening trend for the beleaguered sector. Excluding petrol, overall retail sales volumes fell by 6% compared to last year, with pounds in the till only really rising due to inflation, which has already risen to almost double digits.

The additional bank holidays in June may have encouraged consumers to stock up on food and drink for the Jubilee weekend - as confirmed by grocery stores being the only category outperforming - but will also have meant even fewer shopping days for other, more discretionary retail categories.

"Having only just recovered to pre-pandemic levels in May,  fashion retailers were unable to maintain their momentum, with sales volumes falling back by almost 5%. So, despite upcoming summer holidays and social events postponed from the last two years finally going ahead, it seems like some consumers are content to make do with existing outfits rather than buying new ones. 

"As in previous months, online sales growth continues to fall back from its pandemic highs in nearly every category. At just over a quarter of total retail sales, online participation is almost in line with where it would have been, had it not seen a boom during the last two years’ lockdowns.

"This month’s results make stark - and bleak - reading for retailers, as the inevitable outcome of rapidly falling consumer confidence and the cost-of-living crisis cause British consumers to tighten their wallets.

"It’s difficult to imagine any let up in these pressures for the rest of the year, with the proposed energy price cap rise in Autumn and food price inflation continuing to be passed through. It’s unlikely that any category of discretionary spending will be spared by the crisis, so retailers will be buckling up for a bumpy ride in the run-up to the all-important Christmas trading period; some casualties along the way may be unavoidable."

 

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