The British Retail Consortium produces unbiased research and analysis on retail performance and the economic drivers influencing the British retail industry. The MIA’s Membership with the BRC gives us access to an expanded portfolio of content to share with our members. We’re pleased to share the headline statistics from these reports on retail sales, inflation and footfall.
Rising cost of living puts breaks on spending
- In April, UK retail sales decreased 1.7% on a Like-for-like basis from April 2021, when they had increased 39.6%. This was below the 3-month average growth of 0.1% and the 12-month average growth of 3.3%.
- On a Total basis, sales decreased by 0.3% in April, against an increase of 51.1% in April 2021. This is below the 3-month average growth of 3.2% and the 12-month average growth of 6.4%.
- Over the three months to April, Food sales decreased 1.8% on a Like-for-like basis and 1.3% on a Total basis. This is below the 12-month Total average growth of 0.7%. For the month of April, Food was in growth year-on-year.
- Over the three-months to April, Non-Food retail sales increased by 1.8% on a like-for-like basis and 6.9% on a Total basis. This is below the 12-month Total average growth of 11.1%. For the month of April, Non-Food was in decline year-on-year.
- Online Non-Food sales increased by 51.4% in April, against a growth of 4.3% in April 2019. This is broadly in line with the 3-mth average of 41.6%. The Non-Food Online penetration rate decreased from 45.1% in April 2021 to 38.6% this April.
- Over the three months to April, In-Store sales of Non-Food items declined 48.2% on a Total basis and increased 14.7% on a Like-for-like basis since April 2019. This is worse than the 2019 Total average decline of 14.7%.
Helen Dickinson OBE, Chief Executive, BRC:
“The rising cost of living has crushed consumer confidence and put the brakes on consumer spending. Sales growth has been slowing since January, though the real extent of this decline has been masked by rising inflation. Big ticket items have been hit hardest, as consumers reigned in spending on furniture, electricals and other homeware; compounded by delays on goods coming from China. Meanwhile, thanks to the April sunshine, garden goods and fashion saw stronger sales, particularly occasion wear as consumers prepared for summer and this year’s wedding season.”
“Customers face a difficult year; with the Bank of England predicting inflation to reach more than 10%. Retailers are experiencing higher costs as a result of rising commodity prices, transport costs, labour shortages, delays at ports, and the war in Ukraine. Further headwinds are incoming, such as rising global food prices, which rose 13% between March and April. Retailers will continue to do all they can to mitigate the effects of these costs rises, but unfortunately they cannot absorb them all.”
Prices rising as costs soar
- Shop Price annual inflation accelerated to 2.7% in April, up from 2.1% in March. This is above the 12- and 6-month average price increases of 0.4% and 1.5%, respectively. This marks the highest rate of inflation since September 2011.
- Non-Food inflation accelerated to 2.2% in April, up from 1.5% in March. This is above the 12- and 6-month average price decrease of 0.1% and increase of 0.9%, respectively. This marks the highest rate of inflation since the data series began in 2006.
- Food inflation accelerated to 3.5% in April, up from 3.3% in March. This is above the 12- and 6-month average price growth rates of 1.3% and 2.6%, respectively. This is the highest inflation rate since March 2013.
- Fresh Food inflation decelerated in April to 3.4%, down from 3.5% in March. This is above the 12- and 6-month average price growth rates of 1.2% and 2.9%, respectively. This is the second highest inflation rate since March 2013.
- Ambient Food inflation accelerated to 3.5% in April, up from 3.0% in March. This is above the 12- and 6-month average price increases of 1.4% and 2.3%, respectively. This is the highest rate of increase since January 2013.
Helen Dickinson OBE, Chief Executive, British Retail Consortium, said:
“The impact of rising energy prices and the conflict in Ukraine continued to feed through into April’s retail prices. Non-food products, particularly furniture, electricals and books, have seen the highest rate of inflation since records began. This has been exacerbated by disruption at the world’s largest seaport, following Shanghai’s recent lockdown. Food prices continued to rise, though fresh food inflation slowed as fierce competition between supermarkets resisted price hikes on many everyday essentials.”
“Global food prices have reached record highs, seeing a 13% rise on last month alone, and even higher for cooking oils and cereals. As these costs filter through the supply chain, they will place further upward pressure on UK food prices in the coming months. Retailers will continue to do all they can to keep prices down and deliver value for their customers by limiting price rises and expanding their value ranges, but this will put pressure on them to find cost-savings elsewhere. Unfortunately, customers should brace themselves for further price rises and a bumpy road ahead.”
Encouraging improvement to UK footfall
- Total UK footfall decreased by 13.1% in April (Yo3Y), a 2.3 percentage point improvement from March. This is better than the 3-month average decline of 15.1%.
- Footfall on High Streets declined by 17.2% in April (Yo3Y), 0.6 percentage points better than last month’s rate and an improvement on the 3-month average decline of 18.4%.
- Retail Parks saw footfall decrease by 4.0% (Yo3Y), 3.3 percentage points better than last month’s rate and an improvement on the 3-month average decline of 7.2%.
- Shopping Centre footfall declined by 27.6% (Yo3Y), 8.2 percentage points better than last month’s rate and an improvement on the 3-month average decline of 34.5%.
Helen Dickinson OBE, BRC Chief Executive, said:
“April saw another encouraging improvement to UK footfall, as the spring sunshine and Easter festivities brought consumers back to stores. After a slow start for footfall in April, as the weather improved, customers were more inclined to visit their favourite shopping destinations. Retail parks and shopping centres experienced the biggest improvement to footfall, as the public visited locations with the largest mix of shops to scope out the best deals.
“While footfall continues to make its return towards pre-pandemic levels, consumer confidence saw a different trend, falling to its lowest levels since the 2008 financial crisis. Shoppers are now being forced to make tough decisions in the face of rising inflation and higher energy prices, exacerbated further by the war in Ukraine. This threatens to stall improvements to footfall, as consumers reign in their discretionary spending. Retailers will have to work twice as hard to sustain customer loyalty and engagement.”
As a member of the BRC, the MIA can share the full reports with our members. If you would like to see any of these 3 reports in full, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org