Supermarket price wars trigger slowdown in retail sales in May

Kasmira Jefford
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PRICE cuts by Britain’s big four supermarkets hit retail sales in May despite clothing retailers reporting their strongest growth in more than two years.

Figures from the British Retail Consortium (BRC) and KPMG this morning show that like-for-like UK retail sales were up 0.5 per cent in May compared with the same month last year, when they had increased 1.8 per cent on 2012.

Total sales were up two per cent, a slowdown on the 5.7 per cent jump seen in April when a late Easter helped to boost spending.

Non-food, led by clothing, rose 4.3 per cent on a three-month average, while food declined by 0.2 per cent.

KPMG’s retail boss David McCorquodale described the split between retailers as a paradox.

“While non-food retailers are seeing steady sales growth, the grocers appear locked in a race to the bottom, imposing price cut after price cut to maintain their sales volumes,” he said.

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