Retailers struggle after Jubilee boost

Retail spending picked up in June over the Queen’s jubilee weekend but people returned to their frugal ways when the festivities ended, according to retail industry data.

Total sales were 3.5 per cent higher in June than the same month a year ago, according to the British Retail Consortium (BRC), the retailers’ trade association, as people splashed out on crisps, treats, alcohol and new outfits in the week before the long bank holiday weekend.

    However, the BRC said the boost did not last. “Sadly the soggy celebrations over the Jubilee weekend itself, which heralded the start of the wettest June on record, were followed by far weaker business for the rest of the month,” said Stephen Robertson, the BRC’s director general.

    Retailers have struggled as people’s real incomes have been eroded and the economy has slid into a double-dip recession. Between January and June, average monthly retail sales were 1.7 per cent higher than the same period last year.

    The official retail sales data for June will be released next week.

    Separate data on the housing market from the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (Rics) confirmed the weak underlying economic picture. Rics said 22 per cent more surveyors recorded house price falls than rises, though the majority of respondents said prices were flat.

    Meanwhile, both new buyer enquiries and new vendor instructions declined to the weakest net balances for 18 months. Newly agreed sales also fell.

    Brian Jackson, a chartered surveyor in Southport, Merseyside, told Rics: “There has been a noticeable decline in properties coming to the market, which we can only assume is due to the economic climate.”

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