Four years after the notorious collapse of Lehman Brothers and the downfall of the banking industry, retail sales growth has not returned to its former levels of glory. The British Retail Consortium today announced retail sales growth is now averaging half what it was in the years before the Lehman Brothers collapse. Furthermore, in its latest figures, the BRC shows the impact of the global financial crisis on UK retailers has been severe, long lasting and continues to be felt.
Annual year on year growth has been less than average, at just 2.1 per cent over the last two years. That is below the level of inflation, meaning sales volumes have stagnated. This compares with much stronger growth of 4.5 per cent over an equivalent period before the crisis, or even 4.8 per cent in 2006.
Like-for-like sales value growth has also remained stagnant over the last two years. With consumer spending having fallen for several consecutive quarters, the consumer sector has led the economy into a double dip recession.
British Retail Consortium Director General Stephen Robertson said: "Four years on from this key event in the banking crisis, which sent retail sales plummeting, sales growth is still less than half what it was before. Sales volumes are now going backwards.
"Representing over five per cent of GDP and more than 10 per cent of jobs, retail is a vital part of the UK economy and a key indicator of its health. Retail is fundamentally resilient. It's still the biggest private sector employer in the country but this analysis vividly demonstrates the lasting blow dealt to households and to retail sales by the crisis of 2008.
"Any successful economic fight back needs a return to strength for the retail sector. It's not enough just to talk about growth. We need the Government to rebuild confidence, support customers and retailers and get spending going again by holding back the costs it is responsible for."
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