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UK retailers scale back discounting in July, BRC says

Wed, 29th Jul 2020 00:01

LONDON, July 29 (Reuters) - British retailers discounted
their goods less in July than the month before, after consumer
demand picked up in many sectors as coronavirus lockdown
restrictions eased, data from the British Retail Consortium
showed on Wednesday.

Average shop prices in July were 1.3% lower than a year
before, compared with 1.6% lower in June and a record 2.4% fall
in May.

July's reading was driven by a smaller price fall of 2.9%
for non-food prices in July, down from a 3.4% drop in June.

"Sectors which saw a release of pent-up demand, such as
electricals and furniture, saw fewer promotions," BRC chief
executive Helen Dickinson said.

But other sectors such as health and beauty remained under
significant pressure, she added.

Inflation in the food sector - one of the few areas to
increase sales during lockdown, as more British people ate at
home - remained unchanged at 1.5%.

Wednesday's data broadly tally with official data last week
which showed overall retail spending rebounded to around its
pre-COVID level in June after a previous slump of more than 20%,
but that there were marked differences between sectors.

Supermarkets, home hardware and online stores have done
well, while sales of clothing and many other less essential
goods remain significantly down compared with a year ago.

Figures from the Confederation of British Industry suggested
a similar pattern continued in early July.

The BRC survey was conducted between July 1 and July 7.
(Reporting by David Milliken, Editing by William Maclean)

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