The last Retail Sales Index from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) has revealed that retail sales volumes fell 1% quarter-on-quarter for December in the fourth quarter, which was the weakest performance since the first quarter of 2017.
Responding to these results, Kyle Monk, BRC's Head of Retail Insight and Analytics, said, 'Retail remains in the midst of a transformation driven by new technologies and changing consumer behaviour.
'Online purchases continue to rise, driven by Black Friday falling later in the year, giving an advantage to those retailers with a mature digital offering. The quantity of goods bought in December fell 0.6%, as consumers continued to demonstrate more value-driven and conscientious spending habits.'
Monk continued, “The Government’s review of business rates could not come at a more important time. Already retail, which accounts for 5% of the economy, pays 25% of the business rates burden, holding back investment in staff, and the online and instore offering for consumers.
'In the short term, the Government should scrap downwards transitional relief which takes £1.3bn from retailers, using most of it to subsidise other sectors.”