Blog: Double-dip recession blow for retail industry says BRC

Michelle Russell | 25 April 2012

The news this morning (25 April) that the UK's economy has slipped back into recession may come as little surprise to many, but for the UK retail industry, it is unwelcome news.

According to the Office of National Statistics, the economy contracted 0.2% in the three months to the end of March on top of a 0.3% decline in the last quarter of 2011.

While today's figure is an early estimate and is subject to at least two further revisions in the coming months, it comes as somewhat of a blow for the UK retail industry, when a boost to consumer confidence is desperately needed.

According to the British Retail Consortium (BRC), with inflation growing at almost three times the rate of average wage increases and personal budgets under pressure from high fuel and utility bills, consumers have continued to cut back on many areas of spending.

The BRC previously warned that "temporary bright spots", such as last month's retail sales figures, cannot disguise the "fundamental difficulties" faced by households and businesses.

"2012 looks like being tougher than we thought. The figures are subject to revision but the UK's return to a technical recession is a blow," BRC director general, Stephen Robertson said.

"Whether GDP growth is just above or just below zero doesn't change the harsh realities facing customers but it will undermine confidence at a time when we desperately need to be going forward not backwards."

Robertson suggests the Government "halt its tsunami of destructive new regulations and taxes" if it is to "rekindle recovery".



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