The BRC Economic Briefing Report for July 2021

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The British Retail Consortium has released its Economic Briefing Report for July 2021. It shows a mixed picture for the UK Economy. 

May growth disappointed, with GDP growth slowing from April and significantly market expectations. The rebound in hospitality was the driver of growth, but global shortages offset some of these gains.

Retail sales saw another month of buoyant sales in June, growth reaching 13.1% compared to June 2019, above May’s growth of 10.0%. But the month was one month of two halves, with spend slowing during the last two weeks of the month, when the unseasonably wet weather arrived.

June’s inflation reached 2.5%, its highest level since August 2018. Some of the price rises are a reversal of the pandemic trend when many goods and commodities saw prices fall significantly.

Headline Statistics: 

  • May growth disappointed, with GDP growing by 0.8%, significantly below market expectations of 1.5% and April’s growth of 2.0%. May marks the fourth consecutive month of growth, nevertheless, output remains 3.1% smaller than in February 2020.
  • Retail sales saw another month of buoyant sales in June, with growth reaching 13.1% Yo2Y, above May’s growth of 10.0%.
  • June’s inflation reached 2.5%, its highest level since August 2018. Some of the price rises are a reversal of the pandemic trend when many goods and commodities saw prices fall significantly.
  • 172,000 of retail employees remained furloughed in June, down from 221,000 in May. In the UK as a whole, there were 1.9mill furloughed employees in the UK, down from 2.7mill in May. But the number of payroll employees in the UK increased in June for the seventh consecutive month, with employment rising in some regions above pre-pandemic levels.
  • BRC-LDC data shows retail vacancies rose to 14.5% in Q2, the highest rate recorded, and above the rate of 12.4% in Q2 2020. The pandemic accelerated the shift to online and changed consumption patterns, triggering the permanent closure of some shops.

As a member of the BRC, the MIA can share the full report with our members. If you would like to see the full report, please contact alice@mia.org.uk