Retail sales – ‘consumers are cutting back’

New data from ONS shows that retail sales volumes decreased by 1.6% in August, a continuation of the downward trend which started in summer 2021. Sales across all retail sectors, including food, online, non-food, and fuel, reduced as households cut back in the face of rising prices. The volume reduction in August was the largest month-on-month decline since December last year. Although supermarket sales volumes also fell by 0.9% in the month, tobacco and sales registered a 6.3% increase. In addition, department stores saw a large 2.7% drop in sales volumes, while sales in clothing shops fell by 0.6%. ONS noted, ‘Feedback from retailers suggests that consumers are cutting back on spending because of increased prices and affordability concerns.’