The statistics for Retail Sales have been released, but even though they report a sustained period of growth year on year, the figures actually reveal that when broken down month on month, the growth statistics are minimal – and the bad weather could be to blame.
The key findings from the Retail Statistics showed:
- Continuing a sustained period of year-on-year growth, the volume of retail sales in August 2015 is estimated to have increased by 3.7% compared with July 2015. This was the 29th consecutive month of year-on-year growth
- Compared with July 2015, the quantity bought in the retail industry is estimated to have increased by 0.2%
- Average store prices (including petrol stations) fell by 3.3% in August 2015 compared with August 2014; the 14th consecutive month of year-on-year price falls
- The amount spent in the retail industry increased by 0.2% in August 2015 compared with August 2014, but decreased by 0.3% compared with July 2015
According to Phil Mullis, Partner and Head of Retail and Wholesale at top-20 UK accountancy firm, Wilkins Kennedy, the cloudier and wetter weather in August held off a few of the crucial sales, that would normally be accounted for in the summer season. Plus, the figures do not take in to account the August Bank Holiday, where larger ticket retailers, such as furniture and electrical, make most of their sales.
"Leaving out those figures are going to make a massive difference to the overall statistics" comments Mr Mullis. "Although, the wetter weather will have put consumers off other discretionary spends in their outside spaces, in the garden or for a barbeque perhaps, which will also explain the lower than average figures.
"The weather could also find some retailers, in the fashion industry for example, in difficulties later in the season. Let's hope they learned to adjust their stock accordingly from last year's Indian summer!
"The fall in fuel prices and lower import costs will keep prices in check for the next few weeks, although now the US has announced it plans to revise interest rates, this could impact our prices here in the UK as import costs rise.
It will be interesting to see how this will effect retailers as we head in to the Golden Quarter."