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Worst figures on record

Chancellor urged to deliver ‘shoppers’ Budget’

Prince St retail shopping

Shops hit by half term holiday (photo by Terry Murden)

Chancellor Philip Hammond has been urged to deliver a “shoppers’ Budget” following the worst growth in non-food items since records began.

Non-food sales rose by just 0.1% in the three months to October, their poorest performance since January 2011,

On a like-for-like basis total ales were down 1%.

The BRC, which monitors sales with the accountancy firm KPMG, said clothing sales were “particularly hard hit”,

BRC chief executive Helen Dickinson said “consumers appear to have opted for outdoor experiences and excursions during half term, over visits to the shops”.

Paul Martin, head of retail at the accountancy firm KPMG, said that October marked a “reversal of fortunes for retailers”.

He said: “After a brief uptick, fashion sales reverted back to the dreary theme we have seen for a number of months this year. Unseasonably warm weather last month will not have helped, but this is unlikely to be the only reason the new ranges are proving unpopular.”

Mr Martin said that retailers will be hoping that consumers are saving up for Black Friday, the post-Thanksgiving shopping bonanza in the US which has become a key date for retailers in the UK.

This year it falls on 24 November, two days after the Budget.

BRC chief executive Helen Dickinson said Chancellor Philip Hammond should reflect on the “disappointing state of play”.

She said he should “deliver a Budget that allays the risks of a further slowdown in consumer spending, by keeping down the cost of living. In other words, a shoppers’ Budget.”

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