BRC warns of 'spending paralysis' on the High Street as retail sales slowdown

After inflation and VAT rise, consumers are buying less goods, says BRC
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As if coping with looters wasn’t enough, the High Street is continuing to take a battering from poor sales according to the latest figures on general retail sales from the British Retail Consortium.

UK retail sales were a modest 0.6 per cent higher on July 2010 figures, like-for-like. On a total basis, sales were up 2.5 per cent against a 2.6 per cent increase in July 2010.

Non-food non-store sales – accounting for internet, mail order and phone sales – slowed after June’s clearance sales. Figures were 9.6 per cent higher than a year ago, slowing from June’s 11.5 per cent and 11.3 per cent in July 2010.

BRC director general Stephen Robertson said: "This is a modest improvement on recent months but overall conditions remain very difficult for retailers. When you take into consideration inflation and January's increase in VAT, 2.5 per cent growth effectively means people are buying fewer goods."

Restoring consumer confidence must be a priority, said Robertson.

"Growing fears of a global economic slowdown and a sovereign debt crisis have sent shockwaves through financial markets. Policymakers in Europe and the US must act quickly to implement a coordinated and credible strategy to reduce public sector deficits while supporting growth. Business and consumer confidence needs to be restored quickly before spending paralysis sets in."

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