UK: Olympics fail to provide July retail sales boost
The first days of the London 2012 Olympic Games had little impact on UK retail sales in July, according to official figures released today (16 August).
UK retail sales increased 3.1% by value during July, and were up 2.8% by volume against the same month last year, according to statistics from the Office for National Statistics (ONS).
Over the month - which includes the first five days of the Olympics - textile, clothing and footwear sales fell by 0.1% year-on-year, although the value of sales increased 0.5%. Average prices were estimated to have fallen by 0.4% over the past 12 months.
Commenting on the results, British Retail Consortium director general Stephen Robertson said: "July was no golden month for retailers despite the build-up to the Olympics. The sale of non-food goods held-up better than food but both measures were weaker than in June."
Conlumino analyst Neil Saunders warned the results "do not reflect the reality on the ground" or the results it is seeing from individual retailers.
"The truth is that trading remains fairly tough," he said. "For most of July, the weather was against retail, depressing sales and pushing down footfall on high streets.
"Many retailers resorted to discounting and promotions in order to stimulate the consumer; while this helped to support volumes, it resulted in a fairly sharp fall in inflation which contributed to a more depressed level of overall growth."
He also highlighted the changing consumer psychology. "Before 2008, the consumer was generally avaricious and extremely active. This translated into the purchase of more and more things which helped to create very strong volume growth.
"Today, that attitude has largely disappeared. Consumers are now much more selective about what they buy. This acts as a brake on volume growth."
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