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Retail sales were down in August, as the Olympics and outdoor activities divert shoppers, reveals the BRC.

According to the BRC-KPMG Retail Sales Monitor September 2016, total retail sales declined 0.3% against a 0.1% rise in August 2015, the weakest performance since September 2014.

Despite the overall figure being down, Furniture sales remained ‘positive’ in August, although slowing further from July. Sales in the bedroom and dining categories drove performance.

On a three-month basis, total UK retail sales rose 0.6%, while non-food sales increased 0.4%.

As for online, Furniture sales ‘dipped again’ along with Homeware sales. On an overall basis, online sales of non-food products in the UK grew 6.2%, the slowest growth since March 2013.

Helen Dickinson OBE, chief executive, British Retail Consortium, said: “A month of extraordinary achievement for Team GB certainly produced a feel-good effect and consumer confidence was up on July, but that generally didn’t translate into extra sales. Consumers were enticed towards leisure and outdoor activities rather than shopping.

“Care should be taken in reading too much into August’s lacklustre performance. As we’ve seen in the last couple of months, data portending the health of the economy paint a volatile picture. The fact is that so far little has directly changed for the UK’s consumers as a result of the referendum, so it’s the pre-existing market dynamics that are still driving sales.”