BRC latest figures paint a mixed picture of the High St.

The British Retail Consortium has released two updates, tracking retail sales figures, footfall and vacancy rates.

A summary is as follows:

  • In October 2018, UK (overall) retail sales increased by 0.1% on a like-for-like basis from October 2017
  • Non-Food retail sales in the UK decreased 1.0% on a like-for-like basis
  • Online sales of Non-Food products grew 7.6% in October
  • Overall footfall declined 2%, with High St’s falling 2.3%, Retail parks 0.2% and Shopping Centres 3.3%
  • Retail stores vacancies are at a 15 month high of 9.6%

Helen Dickinson OBE, Chief-Executive | British Retail Consortium

“Overall, retail sales growth remains low by historical standards. Sales in October saw only a slight uplift on the previous year, as cautious consumer spending continues into the final quarter of the year.

“Brighter weather and the anticipation of better deals in the Black Friday November sales have dampened demand for discretionary purchases. Moreover, low real wage growth over an extended period has left consumers with less money in their pocket, squeezing retailers’ margins in the face of higher costs.

“Furthermore, the very real possibility of a no-deal Brexit presents a huge challenge for retailers who must contend with the prospect of higher import prices, and further drops to consumer demand. Time is running out and it is essential that the Government, the EU and the UK Parliament come to an agreement on the backstop and delivers a Brexit deal detail which gives confidence to both consumers and retailers, and avoids squeezing real wages further.”

The full reports, which break down the information by regions and by locations such as Shopping Centres vs High St can be read here.