UK Retail sales fall
Fastest since lockdown
Retail sales are falling at a rate "not seen since the depths of the pandemic", as price rises hit household budgets, a UK retail body has said.
Shoppers are cutting back on white goods such as fridges and dishwashers as well as opting for cheaper brands, the British Retail Consortium added.
Sales in shops and online have dropped for three months in a row, figures from the BRC and accountants KPMG indicate.
Inflation - the rate at which prices rise - hit 9.1% in May, with the increasing cost of food, energy bills and fuel putting pressure on households' finances.
Total sales decreased by 1% in the five weeks between 29 May and 2 July 2022, against an increase of 10.4% in June 2021, figures from the BRC and KPMG show. It followed declines in April and May.
Food inflation meanwhile, could reach 15% this summer according to forecasts by the Institute of Grocery Distribution (IGD), meaning shoppers will be paying more for their essential groceries.
"With record petrol prices, being able to walk to a grocery store is also increasingly important," she added, "with 27% of shoppers agreeing this is a driver of store choice, compared to 24% in May."
The cutback in spending on white goods reported by the BRC's survey comes just days after online electricals retailer AO World announced it had raised £40m to improve its liquidity position, this comes offf the back of a falling share price.
Paul Martin, UK head of retail at KPMG, said people were cutting back on spending "against a backdrop of unprecedented price rises on the High Street".
He said online shopping had continued to drop, with total sales down 9%. The biggest falls have been for purchases of furniture, home appliances and computing.