Retail sales volume fall to 1.3 per cent lower than pre-covid levels as cost of living bites
Retail sales volumes have plummeted to 1.3 per cent lower than pre-coronavirus levels as rising prices and the cost of living continues to bite.
Latest figures from the Office for National Statistics show sales volume on the high street were down by 1.4 per cent in September, though data was impacted by a bank holiday following the death of Her Majesty the Queen.
Sales also dropped by 2 per cent in the three months up to September compared to the previous three months, continuing a downward spiral of lower spending, driven by turbulent economic conditions.
Consumer Prince Inflation rose to 10.1 per cent in the two months leading to September, it was announced earlier this month.
In particular food store sales were down by 1.8 per cent last month, which is 3.2 per cent lower than pre-pandemic levels. while non-store shopping, which is mainly online retail, dropped 3 per cent. Even with this drop, sales volumes were were 18 per cent above levels before February 2020.
As Brits tighten their pursestrings amid soaring inflation and higher interest rates, non-food sales dropped by 0.6 per cent while car fuel purchases were down 1.3 per cent.
One cause for a dip on consumer sales has been the bank holiday and period of mourning for Her Majesty the Queen. many retailers closed on 19 September.
ONS Director of Economic Statistics Darren Morgan said: “Retail sales continued to fall in September after a weak August, and consumers are now buying less than before the pandemic. Drops were seen across all main areas of retailing, with falling sales in food stores making the largest contribution.
“Retailers told us that the fall in September was partly because many stores were closed for the Queen’s funeral, but also because of continued price pressures leading consumers to be careful about spending.”