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2019 The Worst Year Ever For UK Retail

Updated: Jan 13

Brexit continues to cause problems for the UK economy as data from the British Retail Consortium (BRC) shows that 2019 was the worst year on record for retail sales in the UK.


Overall retail sales in 2019 fell by 0.1 per cent in contrast with a growth of 1.2 per cent in 2018, which the BRC has blamed on Brexit and the political uncertainty.


The decline in sales pushed retailers such as the Arcadia Group - owners of stores like Burton and Dorothy Perkins - to take drastic restructuring that has resulted in many workers in retail losing their jobs.


Helen Dickinson CEO of the BRC pointed to the political wrangling in Parliament over Brexit for the drop off in consumer confidence in 2019, with consumers concerned about the impact of a no deal exit from the EU.


There was a 1.9 per cent growth in retail sales in December 2019, however this was because of the inclusion of data from Black Friday, which fell in late November and therefore had to be added to December's data.


The impact of Brexit on retail is not over yet even as the UK government takes the deliberate step to remove the term 'Brexit' from their communications and documents as the process of exiting the EU moves forward.


The reality is that the divisive issue of Brexit will still impact retail sales in 2020 as the government tries to agree a new trade deal with the EU by the end of the year.

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