Ahead of Brexit, British retailers suffer worst September since the mid-1990s

Ahead of Brexit, British retailers suffer worst September since the mid-1990s

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UK retailers endured their worst September since at least the mid-1990s, according to the British Retail Consortium (BRC).

The BRC said that surveys showed people were spending money on entertainment instead of shopping in the run-up to Brexit, Reuters reported.

In a potential warning sign for consumer spending, which has helped the economy ahead of Brexit, the association said total retail sales values declined 1.3% in September year-on-year. 

Average growth over the last 12 months slowed to 0.2%, the weakest rate since the BRC began its records in 1995.

While official data retail data have shown healthier consumer demand, surveys like the BRC’s have suggested household spending may be starting to wane, adding to worries about a possible recession even before Britain is due to leave the European Union later this month.

Several British retailers, including supermarkets Asda and Morrisons and home improvement group Kingfisher, have said uncertainty around Brexit was affecting their customers.

Earlier this month, the BRC said that fresh food inflation rate halved in September to 0.7% compared to 1.4% in August. It is the lowest inflation rate since March 2018.

“Food price inflation eased to a 17-month low reflecting both lower domestic prices for vegetables and lower global prices for meat,” said Helen Dickinson, Chief Executive of the BRC.

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