British retail sales posted their slowest rate of growth in 12 months, as concerns over Britain's exit from the European Union began to hit consumers, a survey showed on Tuesday, July 9th.
In a report by Reuters, the British Retail Consortium (BRC), a retail association, said average sales growth fell to 0.6% in the 12 months to June, the lowest since it began recording data in 1995.
“Overall, the picture is bleak: rising real wages have failed to translate into higher spending as ongoing Brexit uncertainty led consumers to put off non-essential purchases,” BRC Chief Executive Helen Dickinson said.
“The continued risk of a no-deal Brexit is harming consumer confidence and forcing retailers to spend hundreds of millions of pounds putting in place mitigations,” she added.
Last week, surveys of British companies concluded that the economy shrank between April and June, and the governor of the Bank of England, Mark Carney, warned of a growing risk of a no-deal Brexit and rising global trade tensions.
Over the past two weeks, many retailers in Britain have pointed to difficult trading circumstances.
Sainsbury's, a supermarket group, announced a fall in core sales for the third straight quarter, while rival Asda described the business environment as "a complete storm." Boots, a specialist in retail sales of health products, said Britain could be heading for a recession.