Awful August

August, Olympics month, produced the worst growth this year in retail sales. Like-for-like sales were 0.4% down on the same month a year ago, according to the Retail Sales Monitor produced by the British Retail Consortium (BRC) and accountancy firm KPMG. “There’s no evidence here of any Olympic boost to retail sales overall,” said BRC director-general Stephen Robertson. Online sales were also hit. “August’s online sales growth was a third the rate of the previous month and the lowest since we started this measure in October 2008,” Mr Robertson said. However, he added: “Fundamentally, online retailing is still strong and this is almost certainly just an interlude in the trend of rapid expansion, but online outperformed overall retailing by the narrowest margin we’ve recorded.”

Homing in on electricals, the monitor found that large-screen TVs sold well in the first week of the Olympics and new computing and electronics products, tablets, laptops and technology accessories had a strong month, as did cooking appliances.