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Uk Retail Sales Suffer Worst Fall On Record In March

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http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-13042329

UK retail sales suffer worst fall on record in March

The struggling UK High Street suffered another blow when the British Retail Consortium (BRC) recorded its worst fall in sales since records began.

The BRC said total sales in March were down 1.9% on a year ago, although the early timing of Easter last year had an effect on the figures.

But the BRC said shoppers did not want to spend "unless they really had to".

Footwear was the only growth sector, as food and drink, clothing, homeware, electrical, and others all fell.

'Ongoing weakness'

Meanwhile, like-for-like sales were down 3.5%, in their worst showing in nearly six years.

Internet sales, which have been defying the general downward trend, showed their slowest growth since records began in 2008.

Recording of High Street sales figures began two years earlier.

Internet sales were 7.5% higher than a year ago, much weaker than the 10.4% in February.

Clothes and book sales suffered their largest declines since 2009 and 2005 respectively.

"We have seen an emergence of new, lower spending patterns since the middle of January, which are currently continuing to trend downwards," said Helen Dickinson, head of retail at survey partner KPMG.

"Many retailers will not be able to sustain this ongoing weakness in demand beyond the short-term and are hoping for some good news around the extended bank holiday period and a feel-good factor driven by the royal wedding."

The poor sales figures came despite the fact that more consumers visited the High Street, separate figures suggested.

Research group Springboard said that footfall in town centres and high streets across the UK rose by 7.8% in March compared with the previous month, and fell by 1.3% against a year earlier - the smallest annual decline in four years.

"Whilst it is early days, this starts to tell a positive story about how consumers are returning to their local High Streets," said Steve Booth, Springboard's chief executive.

'Low wage growth'

There has been a string of gloomy outlooks recently from the likes of Next, Mothercare, HMV, Currys and PC World parent Dixons Retail.

The BRC pointed out that "uncomfortably high inflation and low wage growth have produced the first year-on-year fall in disposable incomes for 30 years".

"Falling disposable incomes and the fear of worse to come means people don't want to spend," added BRC director general Stephen Robertson.

"There's only so much discounts and promotions can do to overcome that."

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What are they gonna blame it on this time?

As far as I know there was no snow and there were many perfect weather days.

Lets see what kind of spin the state propaganda service puts on it (BBC)

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The BBC is a bit bearish today surprisingly, with the rising cost of living etc. Pensioners struggling with energy bills, high council tax, "savings being used up" etc.

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I wonder if these stats are inflation adjusted. Because a 1.9% fall with 4.4% inflation yoy is a 6.3% real fall. Which is quite catastrophic and does explain the growing number of chains going under and empty high street shops.

The basic economic model of falling real wages and benefits cannot work with rising production. Especially in a debt based system that requires constant growth to make the interest payments. Including things like pensions.

The powers that be got around this for a few decades by expanding credit. As long as people had increasing credit to spend, like an extra £30k a year in home equity, it made up for the falling wages. And allowed people to consume the growing production made possible by technological advance.

It was also extremely profitable for businesses, they could cut wages while keeping up sales. However obviously over the long run the model is fundamentally flawed. At some point rising real production must be matched by rising real disposable spending power of 'the masses'.

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when the British Retail Consortium (BRC) recorded its worst fall in sales since records began

Anyone know when that was?

I only ask because sometimes records only go back to 1991 or some such date, so "worst since records began" can be a bit misleading in such cases.

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Ah must be the late Easter, yes. Soon it will be interest in the Royal Wedding distracted people from shopping. In the summer, the 'unexpected' hot weather will have people going out and enjoying the sun instead of shopping and buying houses. By fall, the rain will keep people indoors.

Never can the so called experts on the radio and tv channels simply say as unemployment rises, average wages decline and costs rise people have less spending power.

This isn't rocket science, the problem is if they admit the real problems, the next step would be real reforms.. ones they do not want to make.

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Anyone know when that was?

I only ask because sometimes records only go back to 1991 or some such date, so "worst since records began" can be a bit misleading in such cases.

for me, it was two minutes ago as I swam to the other side of the tank and wondered who I was and how I got here.

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aa3,

The figures are not inflation adjusted.

It is also a lot worse that the figures suggest thanks to inflation being under reported on a grand scale.

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Anyone know when that was?

I only ask because sometimes records only go back to 1991 or some such date, so "worst since records began" can be a bit misleading in such cases.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-13042329

UK retail sales suffer worst fall on record in March

...

Internet sales, which have been defying the general downward trend, showed their slowest growth since records began in 2008.

Recording of High Street sales figures began two years earlier.

...

So 2006. Big woopy do. The sky is falling etc

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aa3,

The figures are not inflation adjusted.

It is also a lot worse that the figures suggest thanks to inflation being under reported on a grand scale.

+1

I have a serious question for all the cheerleaders for higher interest rates. Putting rates up is supposed to dampen spending and therefore put downward pressure on prices. It seems to me (from these figures) that there is already plenty dampening of spending/demand, household incomes are falling (tax credits down, tax up, shorter hours, overpriced petrol and all other goods etc etc) so there is no need for (or prospect of) a hike in base rate any time soon.

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So 2006. Big woopy do. The sky is falling etc

To be fair, this period does cover northern rock and Lehman etc so it could be a big woopy do and the sky could be falling. IMO, one should only dismiss short periods of data if nothing significant happened in them....

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To be fair, this period does cover northern rock and Lehman etc so it could be a big woopy do and the sky could be falling. IMO, one should only dismiss short periods of data if nothing significant happened in them....

Could be cherry picking too, in that the years chosen make it look better than it really is.

The 3rd Heathrow runway for instance said the 3rd runway would not cause more noise since 2003.... if you look a little deeper, you'll notice Concorde which was extremely noisy was retired at the end of 2003.

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This BBC article is propaganda. Yes retail sales are falling however, not to even mention that all the Easter sales for last year were in March and this year are in April is ridiculous.

Edit: I have just noticed the BBC have edited the original article which did not mention easter at all and now it does... funny that.

The statement from KPMG gives a slightly more balance view:

Helen Dickinson, Head of Retail, KPMG, said:

"The food sector suffered in the month due to Easter purchasing falling into March last year, thus impacting the overall results. However, beyond this the trend continues in a marked downward direction: non-food continues to struggle, with big-ticket and home-related sectors again being the hardest hit. We have seen an emergence of new, lower spending patterns since the middle of January, which are currently continuing to trend downwards. Many retailers will not be able to sustain this ongoing weakness in demand beyond the short term and are hoping for some good news around the extended bank holiday period and a feel-good factor driven by the royal wedding. However, as disposable income continues to fall, without reducing saving or increasing borrowing – which would oppose current trends – this will not be possible."

Edited by mattyfc

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Elsewhere I read it was compared to figures going back to 1995.

Even so, that's still pretty recent.

If records went back to the 1950s or 1960s, this might be more shocking a slump.

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http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-13042329

UK retail sales suffer worst fall on record in March

The struggling UK High Street suffered another blow when the British Retail Consortium (BRC) recorded its worst fall in sales since records began.

The BRC said total sales in March were down 1.9% on a year ago, although the early timing of Easter last year had an effect on the figures.

But the BRC said shoppers did not want to spend "unless they really had to".

Footwear was the only growth sector, as food and drink, clothing, homeware, electrical, and others all fell.

'Ongoing weakness'

Meanwhile, like-for-like sales were down 3.5%, in their worst showing in nearly six years.

Internet sales, which have been defying the general downward trend, showed their slowest growth since records began in 2008.

Recording of High Street sales figures began two years earlier.

Internet sales were 7.5% higher than a year ago, much weaker than the 10.4% in February.

Clothes and book sales suffered their largest declines since 2009 and 2005 respectively.

"We have seen an emergence of new, lower spending patterns since the middle of January, which are currently continuing to trend downwards," said Helen Dickinson, head of retail at survey partner KPMG.

"Many retailers will not be able to sustain this ongoing weakness in demand beyond the short-term and are hoping for some good news around the extended bank holiday period and a feel-good factor driven by the royal wedding."

The poor sales figures came despite the fact that more consumers visited the High Street, separate figures suggested.

Research group Springboard said that footfall in town centres and high streets across the UK rose by 7.8% in March compared with the previous month, and fell by 1.3% against a year earlier - the smallest annual decline in four years.

"Whilst it is early days, this starts to tell a positive story about how consumers are returning to their local High Streets," said Steve Booth, Springboard's chief executive.

'Low wage growth'

There has been a string of gloomy outlooks recently from the likes of Next, Mothercare, HMV, Currys and PC World parent Dixons Retail.

The BRC pointed out that "uncomfortably high inflation and low wage growth have produced the first year-on-year fall in disposable incomes for 30 years".

"Falling disposable incomes and the fear of worse to come means people don't want to spend," added BRC director general Stephen Robertson.

"There's only so much discounts and promotions can do to overcome that."

Thats because they are spending there money buying houses :o

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Thats because they are spending there money buying houses :o

The money WAS spent on houses and any future money was also was spent on houses.

The UK is finished.

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I think the increase in high street footfall might have been misinterpreted.

It's all those people on their way to the jobcentre - pressing their noses against the glass ;)

What job centres?! There have been three which have closed down recently in my area.

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Even so, that's still pretty recent.

If records went back to the 1950s or 1960s, this might be more shocking a slump.

Not sure about that - diffferent era, far less debt, doubt there were any falls then at all. Any fall greater than 2008 is not a minor issue. Inflation was expected to completely screw spending power and here it is.

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The BRC pointed out that "uncomfortably high inflation and low wage growth have produced the first year-on-year fall in disposable incomes for 30 years".

The BRC have called for lower interest rates at every opportunity, they have got what they wanted. Now their members can chew on the increased input prices, rates, rents, costs.

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