High inflation and low consumer confidence saw homewares suffer a particularly bad August, the latest retail sales figures reveal.
Total sales for the month grew by 1.5% year-on-year compared to 2.8% in the previous August. But on a like-for-like basis overall sales fell 0.6% last month compared with the same month last year.
The new figures from the British Retail Consortium and KPMG also show that there was a considerable gap in the fortunes of non-food and food. Food sales growth was similar to the level seen in July but sales of non-food items fell further below those of 2010. Homewares and footwear turned in the worst performances.
KPMG’s head of retail, Helen Dickinson, said: “For non-food, the picture is disheartening, with one of the worst monthly results of the year thus far.
“The differential between food and non-food performance continues to grow, with food sales in value terms remaining relatively resilient. Given that much, if not all, of the growth is inflation and a higher VAT rate versus last year, this isn’t particularly good news for retailers as they struggle to maintain their margins.
“Promotional activity remains high to drive footfall and interest, which is a delicate balancing act for retailers to ensure the volume uplift compensates for the margin losses,” she added.