'Rain dampens freedom day demand' says BRC report

12 Aug 2021

Retail sales continued to grow in July although growth has started to slow down, acccording to the new report from the British Retail Consortium (BRC).

The BRC-KPMG Retail Sales Monitor for July 2021 has been published. Key points include:

  • In July, UK retail sales increased 4.7% on a Like-for-like basis from July 2020, when they had increased 4.3% from the preceding year.
  • On a Total basis, sales increased by 6.4% in July, against a growth of 3.2% in July 2020. This is below the 3-month average growth of 14.7% the 12-month average growth of 10.4%.
  • Over the three months to July, In-Store sales of Non-Food items grew 64.9% on a Total and increased 48.1% on a Like-for-like basis. This was above the 12-month average growth of 20.0%. On a 2-year basis, stores saw Like-for like growth of 10.7% over the last three months.
  • Over the three months to July, Food sales increased 0.8% on a Like-for-like basis and increased 2.9% on a Total basis. This is below the 12-month Total average growth of 5.6%. For the month of July, Food was in growth year-on-year.
  • Over the three-months to July, Non-Food retail sales increased by 17.6% on a like-for-like basis and 24.6% on a Total basis. This is above the 12-month Total average decline of 14.4%. For the month of July, Non-Food was in growth year-on-year.
  • Online Non-Food sales increased by 0.6% in July, against a growth of 41.0% in July 2020. This is above the 3-mth average decline of 4.6%. Non-Food Online penetration rate decreased from 54.0% in July 2020 to 48.4% this July.

Helen Dickinson OBE, Chief Executive, British Retail Consortium, said: “July continued to see strong sales, although growth has started to slow. The lifting of restrictions did not bring the anticipated in-store boost, with the wet weather leaving consumers reluctant to visit shopping destinations. Online sales remained strong, and with weddings and other social events back on for the summer calendar, formalwear and beauty all began to see notable improvement, so fashion outlets in particular saw a bounce back to pre-pandemic levels. As many people prepare to return to the workplace, purchase of home office equipment began to fall after month of high sales, meanwhile other homeware, such as furniture and household appliances continued to do well.

“However, the vacancy rate is continuing to rise. Many shops and local communities have been battered by the pandemic, with many high streets in need of further investment. Unfortunately, the current broken business rates system continues to hold back retailers, hindering vital investment into retail innovation and the blended physical-digital retail offering. The Government must ensure the upcoming business rates review permanently reduces the cost burden to sustainable levels. Retailers want to play their part in building back a better future for local communities, and Government must give them the tools to do so.”

Download the report here

Additional Guidance and Resources

  • Re-examining Retail: What do customers expect in 2021?
  • ’Sales improve as outlook brightens’, says BRC report
  • Retail sales ’buoyant in May’, says new BRC report
  • Prices continue to fall - for now, says new BRC report
  • Bira: Reform business rates to ’level up playing field’
  • Bira fights for indie retailers in meeting with business minister
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