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Retail sales dip in June after May blip

Published:  23 July, 2008

UK retail sales fell by 0.4% on a like-for-like basis during June 2008, when compared with the same month last year, latest figures from the British Retail Consortium (BRC) show.

The BRC said June's changeable weather had hit sales, adding that "a few sunny days together with clearance events helped some but underlying trade remained tough, with widespread discounting."

Food and drink was the only sector to show significant growth, but that was against a weak June in 2007. the wettest on record.

BRC director general Stephen Robertson said: "The negative result confirms fears May's modest like-for-like sales growth was a start-of-summer blip."

Helen Dickinson, head of retail at KPMG, said: "This environment is a hugely challenging one for retailers - for the food retailers with their own costs continuing to rise, and for non-food retailers trying to win back a greater 'share of wallet'."

IGD chief executive Joanne Denney-Finch said: "Despite widespread economic pessimism, collectively UK grocery stores are performing robustly. Sales in June benefited from drier weather, midsummer seasonal events such as Euro 2008, festivals and outdoor eating.

"Harder times often lead to consumers changing their shopping habits and retailers have been competing hard to retain existing customers and attract new ones.

"Without doubt, the fight is on for the high ground on value for money and retailers are battling to create summer excitement in store."

Joscelyne Hynard, senior analyst at the BRC, said: "With household budgets under increasing pressure, value ranges and special deals were popular, but some noted premium lines and ready-to-cook ranges held up well.

"Some sunny weekends drove salads and barbecue foods, ice cream and soft drinks, with beers, wines and spirits also popular in various promotions."