Retail sales volumes fell by 0.5 per cent last month, according to the latest figures, as the cost of living crisis eats away at gains made in April.
While the figures suggest current inflation levels and concerns over a recession have Brits’ pinching their purse strings, sales volumes were 2.6 per cent above pre-pandemic levels, as the economy continues to reap rewards of pent-up demand post-lockdown.
The rising cost of food is said to have weighed on the sales figures, the Office for National Statistics said this morning, as the cost of living pushes people to spend around 1.6 per cent less in food stores.
Fuel sales also rose 1.1 per cent, despite increasingly high prices which have prompted automotive bodies to call on businesses to ease the financial strain on travellers.
Online shopping rates have also continued to fall from their lockdown-era heights, tumbling to 26.6 per cent of all retail sales in May – but remaining elevated in comparison with 2019.