BRC says retail faces headwinds this year

The British Retail Consortium (BRC) has responded to the latest ONS Retail Sales Index figures, which showed 5.3% year-on-year sales growth in November (non-seasonally adjusted retail sales excluding fuel: J3L2).

BRC's Chief Executive Helen Dickinson (pictured) said, “The spread of Omicron may have slowed Christmas spending, but the perseverance of retailers helped deliver a successful Christmas for consumers.

'Retail workers pulled out all the stops to overcome supply chain issues, including an ongoing shortage of lorry drivers, to keep customers’ homes stocked with festive items.

'Growth in food outperformed non-food as many categories that had seen growth in November fell into decline, including furniture and household appliances.'

Dickinson continued, “Customers face strong headwinds in 2022, with energy prices and National Insurance contributions both set to rise. The remaining disposable income also faces greater competition from a resurgence in tourism, eating out, sport and live music.

'Rising inflation is reducing consumer demand while increasing the costs for businesses. Retailers face rising wage bills, increased transport costs, and increased checks and documentation as a result of new import controls, all of which are forcing up prices at the checkout.”