The pace of growth in like for like sales has fallen considerably between quarter 1 and quarter 2, suggesting an air of caution among consumers. On a positive note, the monthly performance figures for May and June (at close to 2% each) were markedly improved on the April figure of 0.35%. The next set of performance figures will be crucial to see if this quarter's slower pace of growth takes hold or represents a pause for breath among consumers.
Stand out performances this quarter were found in Furniture and flooring sales, which recovered well from a decline in April. This may reflect some release of pent up demand as consumers waited for a Brexit that didn't come and reflect a higher pace in housing transactions.
Growth in online retail continued on its double-digit growth path. Online sales in Q2 were almost 16% ahead of the same period a year ago, adding to the pressure on traditional bricks and mortar retailers.