The British Retail Consortium says it doubts the accuracy of the latest retail sales figures.
The Office for National Statistics has reported sales growth as being higher in July than in June. However, BRC director general Stephen Robertson disputes the findings.
“Few retailers will recognise this positive picture,” he says. “These ONS figures suggest July’s total sales values were up 3.8% on a year ago, well above the miserly 1.7% shown by the BRC’s figures.
“ONS say year-on-year growth was higher in July than June. Our Retail Sales Monitor shows it fell.”
Robertson says there is no evidence that fundamental conditions are improving for customers or retail businesses.
“Consumer confidence remains low, unemployment is rising and the housing market weakening,” he points out. “It’s hard to see what could produce the sales-growth boost ONS are reporting, or their finding that smaller retailers are outperforming larger ones.
“We respect the ONS’s process,” he adds, “but this report doesn’t seem to reflect the current retail reality.”