Sales have fallen four months out of the past five months according to the July BRC-KPMG Retail Sales Monitor.
Sales were down 0.9 per cent compared to the same time last year, with much of the decline put down to poor weather. Despite that, sales were still up compared to the previous year in total by 1.7 per cent.
More worryingly, consumer confidence continued to tumble – backed up by recent reports from GfK – with sales of large purchases continuing to decline despite increased discounting.
"Four of the last five months have now seen negative like-for-like annual sales growth and in July every sector except food recorded falls," commented director general of the British Retail Consortium, Stephen Robertson. "Frivolous shopping is off the agenda as most customers concentrate on value and durability and there are few signs the slowdown has yet bottomed out.
However, he pointed out that for consumers with money, it was a good time: "This is a good time for consumers to take advantage of the wide range of discounts and promotions available to them."