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Worst July on record for shop sales

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Despite record temperatures, consumer spending fell to a record low last month, new industry data shows.

Retail sales grew by just 0.3 per cent, compared to an increase of 1.6 per cent last year, making it the worst July since records began in 1995.

The report from the British Retail Consortium said both high street and online retailers suffered.

Helen Dickinson, chief executive of the BRC, said “slow real wage growth and Brexit uncertainty” had left consumer spending languishing.

She said: “Whereas last year’s glorious sunshine and World Cup Finals led to strong consumer demand over the summer, this year has been weak in comparison, with both June and July showing the lowest sales on record for their respective months.

“And it is not just high streets that are suffering, with non-food online growth also one percentage point below the 12-month average.”

Paul Martin, UK head of retail at KPMG, added: “While any growth is welcome after two months of decline, it’s clear that most players need more than sunshine to get back on their feet.”

Online non-food sales overall grew by just 3.7 per cent, which is considerably lower than previous years.

Martin also said that grocery sales, which tend to do well in the good weather, were lacklustre, which was “a cause for concern”.

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