By Josh Hall for Prolific London
Retail sales rose by just 0.3 per cent in July, their lowest level since records began.
The figure was down significantly on the 1.6 per cent increase seen in the same month in 2018, and follows what was also the worst June on record.
The survey, conducted by the British Retail Consortium and KPMG, are based on responses from retailers making up an estimated 40 per cent of all British retail sales. Their records began in 1995.
According to the Consortium, “the combination of slow wage growth and Brexit uncertainty” are to blame for the collapse.
But the group also said that last year’s figures had been inflated by the World Cup.
KPMG head of retail Paul Martin said: “Shoppers are notably disengaged overall. The pressure continues to build between online and physical offerings, costs continue to rise and the demands of consumers continue to grow.”
Meanwhile as we reported yesterday the UK service sector recorded a slight and unexpected growth during July.
The performance put it out of kilter with other UK sectors, in which the outlook remains gloomy.
Prime Minister Theresa May has signed the Article 50 letter of notification that she will send to the European Union on Wednesday to formally get Brexit underway.
May was pictured in Downing Street on Wednesday evening adding her signature to the historic letter, which will formally notify the European Commission of Britain’s departure from the EU.
The letter will be handed to European Council President Donald Tusk at 12:30 p.m (BST) tomorrow by British ambassador to the EU Sir Tim Barrow, immediately after May finishes debating Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn in this week’s instalment of Prime Minister’s Questions.
A two-year process of negotiations will then get underway where May and her negotiating team will try to come to a divorce agreement with EU figures. The discussions are set to cover how much Britain must pay the EU as part of its divorce settlement and what long-term free trade deal — if any — can be finalised before the two-year window expires.
Britain is set to officially drop out of the EU no later than March, 2019.
In an address to Parliament on Wednesday, May is set to call on the country to “come together” and support a “truly global Britain” as the nation braces itself to leave the 28-nation bloc after nearly half a century of being a member.
The prime minister is expected to say:
“When I sit around the negotiating table in the months ahead, I will represent every person in the whole United Kingdom – young and old, rich and poor, city, town, country and all the villages and hamlets in between.
“And yes, those EU nationals who have made this country their home.
“It is my fierce determination to get the right deal for every single person in this country.
“For, as we face the opportunities ahead of us on this momentous journey, our shared values, interests and ambitions can – and must – bring us together.
“We all want to see a Britain that is stronger than it is today. We all want a country that is fairer so that everyone has the chance to succeed.
“We all want a nation that is safe and secure for our children and grandchildren. We all want to live in a truly Global Britain that gets out and builds relationships with old friends and new allies around the world.
“These are the ambitions of this Government’s Plan for Britain. Ambitions that unite us, so that we are no longer defined by the vote we cast, but by our determination to make a success of the result.
“We are one great union of people and nations with a proud history and a bright future.
“And, now that the decision has been made to leave the EU, it is time to come together.”