The latest BRC-KPMG Retail Sales Monitor has revealed a decline in sales volumes "not seen since depths of pandemic".

The report, which covers the five weeks from 29th May to 2nd July 2022, says total sales decreased by -1.0% in June, against an increase of +10.4% in June 2021.

UK retail (store-based) sales decreased -1.3% YoY on a LFL basis.

Online non-food sales decreased by -9.1% in June, against a decline of -5.9% in June 2021, and the non-food online penetration rate decreased from 43.3% in June 2021 to 39.4% this June.

Furniture remained the poorest-performing product category, again in 13th place (compared to 5th this time last year).

BRC chief executive Helen Dickinson OBE says: “Sales volumes are falling to a rate not seen since the depths of the pandemic, as inflation continues to bite, and households cut back spending. Discretionary purchases were hit hard, especially white goods and homeware, while consumers also traded down to cheaper brands in food and non-food alike. While the Jubilee weekend gave food sales a temporary boost, and fashion sales benefited from the summer holiday and wedding season, this was not enough to counter the substantial slowdown in consumer spending."

Paul Martin, UK head of retail at KPMG, adds: “Online shopping continued to move in reverse, with total sales down -9% as non-food purchases related to the home, such as furniture, home appliances and computing, suffered the biggest falls in online spending.

“As the cost living crisis continues to deepen, retailers face walking a fine line between protecting margins and further denting consumer confidence by passing on price rises whilst negotiating with their suppliers to share the cost increases. Cost and efficiency will dominate retailers’ agendas as they are forced to make some tough decisions on which products make it to the shelves in order to remain price competitive for consumers.  With a long run of hot weather predicted and many consumers choosing to holiday at home this summer, retailers will be hoping that the feelgood factor begins to improve confidence amongst some shoppers – as presently overall confidence levels are lower than sales may suggest.”