Widespread offers and Fathers Day failed to affect book sales falling in June compared to 2010, according to the British Retail Consortium.
Figures out today show total sales in the UK were up 1.5% last month in comparison to June 2010, when sales had increased by 3.4%. Like for like sales last month were down 0.6%.
The BRC said: "Book sales fell further below their year-earlier level, despite widespread offers, especially around Fathers’ Day." However, it added: "E-book readers were also popular as gifts."
Sales growth in non-food and non-store operations such as internet, mail order and phone businesses rose by 11.5% in comparison to June last year. Growth in May was 10.4% but was 18% in June 2010. Stephen Robertson, director general of the British Retail Consortium, said: "This is slightly better growth than May but still below the figure a year ago and below the twelve-month average. The long-term underlying expansion of online retailing goes on and sales are growing much faster than for store retailing but it isn't immune from customers’ reluctance to spend. It took promotions, discounts and heavy marketing to encourage orders, hitting margins."
Overall he said the UK retail market looked bleak but suggested it could have been even worse. Robertson said: "Given June's spate of shop closure announcements and weak company results, these figures are not as bad as they could have been but it shows just how tough times are when total sales growth of 1.5 per cent is regarded as not that bad."
He added: "And remember, the higher VAT rate is making the year-on-year comparison look better than it really is, while retailers are coping with higher costs because of increased utility bills, rates and the burden of regulation."
- BRC confirms Olympics failed to boost sales
- Father's Day sales push growth, but trade still fails to top 2009
- World Book Day boosts sales but fails to beat record
- Booksellers back Beevor as Father’s Day momentum translates into sales
- Literature Wales disputes claim its Book of the Year fails to boost sales