The latest research and analysis from the BRC


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. Here are the headline statistics from reports on economics, state of trade, inflation and footfall.

Economic Briefing – British Economy returns to growth, but the cost-of-living squeeze worsens

Headline Statistics: 

  • GDP grew by 0.5% in May, according to the most recent data, following a slight decline of 0.2% in April. Services was the main contributor to the rebound in the most recent reporting period, as a surge in GP appointments offset the closure of Test and Trace. Output on consumer-facing, activities, however, fell 0.1%, driven by a decline in retail trade.
  • Inflation has reached its highest since the early 1980s with the Consumer Price Index hitting 9.4% in June, which is around 2% below where the Bank of England see it peaking in 2022 Q4.
  • In June, BRC-KPMG’s retail sales fell by 1.0% year-on-year, a further contraction following May’s -1.1% growth.
  • The UK’s economic inactivity rate was estimated at 21.1%, 0.4 percentage points lower than the previous quarter, and 0.9 percentage points higher than before the coronavirus pandemic.

“The UK is set for a difficult period beyond the summer. Against a backdrop of higher fuel costs and heightening shop prices, the outlook for demand is weak into the Autumn and beyond. Indeed, early signs of weakness are apparent in the BRC’s retail sales figures.

Pass-through of costs is beginning to be seen in the BRC’s Shop Price Index, rising to record highs in July. We expect this will increase the likelihood that the Bank of England will pursue a further rate hike on the 4th of August. The higher borrowing costs entailed would weigh further on economic activity. Ahead, risks of a contraction in the UK economy are rising, particularly as we head into the Winter months.”

– Harvir Dhillon, Economist.

State of Trade – Q2

This is a new series of quarterly reports focussing on the ‘State of Trade’. Every 3 months, the BRC take a high level view of the sector and the macro-economic that influence it.

Through the MIA’s partnership with the BRC, members can have exclusive access to this report – read it here

Shop Price Inflation reaches new-highs

Headline Statistics: 

  • Shop Price annual inflation accelerated to 4.4% in July, up from 3.1% in June. This is above the 12- and 6-month average price increases of 1.5% and 2.8%, respectively. This marks the highest rate of shop price inflation since records first started.
  • Food inflation strongly accelerated to 7.0% in July, up from 5.6% in June. This is above the 12- and 6-month average price growth rates of 2.8% and 4.4%, respectively. This is the highest inflation rate since May 2009.
  • Non-Food inflation accelerated to 3.0% in July, up from 1.9% in June. This is above the 12- and 6-month average price increases of 0.8% and 2.0%, respectively. This was a record-high, beating the previous record of 2.2% in April 2022.
  • Fresh Food inflation strongly accelerated in July to 8.0%, up from 6.2% in June. This is well above the 12- and 6-month average price growth rates of 2.9% and 4.8%, respectively. This is the highest inflation rate since May 2009.
  • Ambient Food inflation accelerated to 5.7% in July, up from 4.8% in June. This is above the 12- and 6-month average price increases of 2.5% and 3.8%, respectively. This is the fastest rate of increase since April 2012.

​Commentary: 

– Helen Dickinson OBE, Chief Executive, British Retail Consortium, said:

“July saw the highest rate of shop price inflation since our index began in 2005, as heightened cost pressures continued to filter through to customers. Rising production costs – from the price of animal feed and fertiliser to availability of produce, exacerbated by the war in Ukraine – coupled with exorbitant land transport costs, led food prices to rocket to 7 per cent. Some of the biggest rises were seen in dairy products, including lard, cooking fats and butter. Meanwhile, non-food prices were hit by rising shipping prices, production costs and continued disruption in China.
 
“As inflation reaches new heights, retailers are doing all they can to absorb as much of these rising costs as possible and to look for efficiencies in their businesses and supply chain. With households enduring a cost-of-living crunch, retailers are expanding their value ranges to offer the widest variety of goods to those most in need, providing discounts to vulnerable groups, and raising staff pay. Nevertheless, households and businesses must prepare for a difficult period as inflationary pressures hit home.”

Footfall stifles in the heat

Headline Statistics: 

  • Total UK footfall decreased by 14.2% in July (Yo3Y), 3.7 percentage points worse than June. This is worse than the 3-month average decline of 12.3%.
  • Footfall on High Streets declined by 15.9% in July (Yo3Y), 2.0 percentage points worse than last month’s rate worse than the 3-month average decline of 14.4%.
  • Retail Parks saw footfall decrease by 9.1% (Yo3Y), 1.0 percentage points worse than last month’s rate and worse than the 3-month average decline of 8.2%.
  • Shopping Centre footfall declined by 24.8% (Yo3Y), 0.7 percentage points worse than last month’s rate and above the 3-month average decline of 25.1%.

Commentary: 

– Helen Dickinson OBE, Chief Executive, British Retail Consortium, said:

“Following four months of steady progress, UK footfall stalled in July as record temperatures and the rising cost-of-living deterred people from visiting local shops. There was some respite in the last week of July, ahead of the Women’s Euros finals, as people stocked up on food and drink to watch the Lionesses bring footfall home. Meanwhile, footfall in Northern Ireland bucked the UK trend and improved slightly on the previous month”

“A new Prime Minister offers a renewed opportunity for the Conservative Party to meet its 2019 pledge for fundamental reform of the broken Business Rates system. The first step is scrapping the ‘downwards phasing’ part of Transitional Relief – a flawed system that prevent retailers paying what they owe, and instead would force them to overpay more than £1 billion between 2023 and 2026. This money could be better used to help limit price rises for customers, curb the rising cost-of-living and invest in the vitality of towns and cities around the country.”


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