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UK Retail Sales Saw Sharpest Decline in Six Months in June

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The Brits aren’t buying new clothes—and Brexit has nothing to do with it.

The U.K.’s Office for National Statistics (ONS) released its latest retail sales report Thursday and said that thanks to one of the wettest starts to summer since records began, women’s fashion and footwear sales were way down in June.

These figures jibe with numbers published earlier this week by the British Retail Consortium (BRC), which showed that store traffic fell 2.8% in June, the sharpest decline since February 2014. According to ONS, both the amount consumers spent last month and the volume of items bought was down 0.9% from May.

Though sales were up 4.3% compared with June 2015, textile, clothing and footwear stores experienced a 6.1% year-over-year drop. Even e-commerce suffered, with online sellers of apparel and shoes reporting a 2.2% year-over-year decline.

Clothing retailers have seen a slowdown in sales since the start of 2016, following nearly a decade of growth averaging around 2.9%. June’s decline came as the country faced its 38th straight month of deflation.

“All types of stores showed growth in June with the exception of clothing and footwear which struggled again due to the changeable weather. But department stores continued to see strong sales compared with last June—boosted by events such as Father’s Day, the Euro 2016 football and the Queen’s official birthday,” ONS said in a statement.

It’s worth noting that most of the data was captured before the June 23 referendum. So the impact of the country’s decision to leave the European Union won’t be fully realized until July’s retail sales figures are released next month.

Photo: UK clothing sales, June 2007 to June 2016

Photo: UK clothing sales, June 2007 to June 2016

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