Retail sales hit lowest level since 2021 lockdowns
Retail sales hit their lowest level since 2021 lockdowns. Shoppers bought less fuel and food in October as they were hit by rising living costs and poor weather, according to official figures.
There was a 0.3% decline in sales last month, the lowest since February 2021 when large parts of the UK were under Covid lockdown.
It was widely expected that retail sales would increase in October.
Several recent figures showed that the UK economy is not growing, resulting in worse-than-expected data.
The UK’s gross domestic product – the amount of goods and services produced – flatlined in July and September, and the Bank of England predicts subdued growth until 2025.
The government’s tax and spending plans and its economic growth strategy will be unveiled in Chancellor Jeremy Hunt’s Autumn Statement next week.
In a statement, the Office for National Statistics said that rising fuel prices may have affected petrol and diesel sales.
The ONS reported lower demand for other goods as well.
According to Heather Bovill, deputy director for survey and economic indicators at the ONS, it was another poor month for household goods and clothes stores because of cost of living pressures, reduced footfall, and bad weather.
As a result of Storm Babet, much of the UK experienced “exceptional rainfall” during October.
There was a 2% decline in fuel sales between September and October, as consumers were more cautious, as well as the impact of bad weather on spending.
Although supermarkets reported a rise in food sales, specialist stores, such as butchers and bakers, reported declines. The sales of alcohol and tobacco also declined, by 4.2% and 10.4%, respectively.
Consumers are buying cheaper products and prioritizing important items, according to retailers.
During the Christmas season, the retail sector experiences its most significant trading period.