The British Independent Retailers Association has said April’s Retail Sales Monitor (RSM) report is highlighting that shops are under ‘considerable pressure’ on our high street.
BIRA, which works with over 6,000 independent businesses of all sizes across the UK, said that the report has shown that sales growth is ‘well behind inflation’ and consumers are buying less.
The BRC-KPMG Retail Sales Monitor for April 2023, revealed:
- UK Total retail sales increased by 5.1% in April, against a decline of 0.3% in April 2022. This is in line with the 3-month average growth of 5.1% and above the 12-month average growth of 3.0%.
- UK Like-for-like retail sales increased by 5.2% in April, against a decline of 1.7% in April 2022. This was above the 3-month average growth of 5.0% and the 12-month average growth of 2.7%.
- Food sales increased 9.8% on a Total basis and 10.0% on a Like-for-like basis over the three months to April. This is above the 12-month Total average growth of 6.3%. For the month of April, Food was in growth year-on-year.
- Non-Food sales increased 1.2% on a Total basis and 0.8% on a like-for-like basis over the three months to April. This is above the 12-month Total average growth of 0.2%. For the month of April, Non-Food was in growth year-on-year.
BIRA CEO, Andrew Goodacre, said: “It is always good to see retail sales increases, but in reality, these figures show that sales growth is well behind inflation and so volumes are down. In simple terms, consumers are buying less and this is adding to the considerable pressure already being felt by smaller shops on the high street.
“All the forecasts are indicating that inflation will fall this year, almost irrespective of the Government’s actions, and so we would not want to see the Bank of England increase the interest rates again as this will further dampen consumer demand. We need a focus on growth in the economy if businesses are to survive the current challenging environment.
“One positive sign from the figures was another loss of market share for online retailing, a further indication that consumers still prefer shops and vibrant high streets. Shops and high streets are needed for communities and local economies, and that is why we are asking the government to provide the support and policies that allow these places to grow,” he added.