UK consumer spending slowed sharply in June, wet weather to blame

UK consumer spending levels slowed sharply in June, with retailers blaming bad weather for lacklustre sales. Consumer spending in June grew at its slowest rate since May 2009.

According to the British Retail Consortium, consumer spending increased by just 0.2 percent last month compared to June 2015, down from 1.4 percent growth in May.

On a like-for-like basis, which strips out changes of retail capacity over the past 12 months, sales dropped by 0.5 percent in June versus the same month last year, compared with a 0.5 percent increase in May.

June was unusually rainy – significantly affecting clothing and footwear sales. Clothing recorded its slowest growth since December 2009, while footwear growth was at its slowest level since records began seven years ago.

David McCorquodale, head of retail at accountancy firm KPMG, which sponsors the survey, said: “As consumer attention shifted indoors to escape autumnal downpours, furniture and home accessories bounced back in the month, with bigger-ticket items proving relatively resilient in the days immediately following the EU referendum.

“With May sunshine a distant memory, however, summer wardrobes remained bare as sales of women’s fashion and footwear plummeted following one of the wettest and dullest starts to a UK summer since records began.”

Adam Marshall, BCC acting director general, said: “Even before the EU referendum, both business confidence and economic growth were softening in many parts of the UK. Our latest survey results, captured just before the vote, suggest that many businesses have been operating in something of a holding pattern for some time.”