Published on 22 - March - 2012
Household goods sales value suffers biggest dip in six monthsA report by the Office for National Statistics showed the overall value of sales had increased by 3.2% since February 2011 for retail overall, but that household goods sales decreased by 1.3% over the same period.
The BRC says the figures show 'people are cutting back on spending' in UK shops
This marked the biggest dip in sales value for the sector since September 2011, when it dropped by 1.8%. Sales volume decreased by 0.1% between February 2011 and February 2012. Average price deflation slowed, meanwhile, from 0.9% in January 2012 to 0.8% in February 2012.
The report revealed that an estimated £2.1 billion was spent in the household goods sector during February 2012, compared to £10.6bn spent in food stores and £2.6bn spent in clothing and textile stores.
While the retail industry showed an increase in year-on-year value of sales, sales value dropped by 0.4% between January and February 2012, and the volume of sales dipped by a 'higher-than-expected' 0.8%. During this period only 'pre-dominantly food' stores saw an increase in sales value.
The BRC said the figures highlighted "a particularly weak month" for the household goods sector. The organisation pointed out that, in the wake of the Budget announcement this week, "more should have been done to support the retail sector."
BRC director general Stephen Robertson said: "The headlines from yesterday's Budget do nothing immediate to change the tough reality millions of families are dealing with ... Total sales growth is still below inflation, so overall customers are cutting back on purchases. Food picked up but non-food sales deteriorated with goods affected by the slow housing market among those particularly struggling.
"The Chancellor's move on corporation tax was very welcome but it's important to remember the burden of other taxes needs to be addressed if they are not to act as a drag on growth. It's deeply disappointing there was nothing done to bring the imminent 5.6 per cent increase in business rates more in-line with reality. Inflation is already much lower than this and due to fall further.
"Action on business rates is needed to show the Government is serious about wanting to revitalise our high streets."
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