Shoppers purchased much less gasoline and meals in October as they have been hit by rising residing prices and poor climate, in response to official figures.
The quantity of merchandise bought final month fell by 0.3% to the bottom stage since February 2021 when giant elements of the UK have been in Covid lockdowns.
Retail gross sales had extensively been forecast to develop in October.
The worse-than-expected knowledge emerged as current figures confirmed the UK financial system was failing to develop.
Gross home product – the quantity of the products and providers produced by the UK – flatlined between July and September and the Bank of England expects solely subdued development till 2025.
Next week, Chancellor Jeremy Hunt will make his Autumn Statement when he’ll set out the federal government’s tax and spending plans and his technique to develop the financial system.
Commenting on the most recent knowledge, the Office for National Statistics stated petrol and diesel gross sales could have been “affected by growing gasoline costs”.
Demand for different items was additionally decrease, stated the ONS.
“It was one other poor month for family items and garments shops with these retailers reporting that price of residing pressures, lowered footfall and poor climate hit them laborious,” stated Heather Bovill, deputy director for survey and financial indicators on the ONS.
During October, Storm Babet hit a lot of the UK leading to “distinctive rainfall”, in response to the Met Office.
Fuel gross sales fell by 2% between September and Octobers with retailers reporting that “shoppers have been spending their cash extra cautiously, alongside the influence of dangerous climate”.
Supermarkets stated customers have been shopping for extra meals, however specialist shops, equivalent to butchers and bakers, recorded a decline. Sales of alcohol and tobacco additionally dropped, down 4.2% and 10.4%, respectively.
Retailers stated customers “have been shopping for cheaper merchandise and prioritising vital gadgets”.
The retail sector is heading into its most vital buying and selling interval which incorporates Christmas.
Lisa Hooker, chief of business for shopper markets at PwC, stated: “We know from earlier within the yr that in robust occasions shoppers prioritise particular occasions and household events, so retailers can be hoping that buyers are maintaining their powder dry for a final minute Christmas spending surge come December.”
Compared to final October, retail gross sales volumes have been 2.7% decrease.
The ONS additionally revised down its studying of retail gross sales in September to a drop of 1.1% after initially estimating a decline of 0.9%.
Recent figures confirmed that inflation – which measures the speed at which costs are rising – fell sharply to 4.6% within the yr to October from 6.7%.It follows a protracted succession of rate of interest rises by the Bank of England.
While elevating charges can scale back inflation, it additionally impacts financial development by making it costlier for shoppers and companies to borrow cash.
Aled Patchett, head of retail and shopper items at Lloyds Bank, stated: “Another dip in gross sales suggests rising family prices stay on the forefront of shoppers’ minds, regardless of headline inflation easing in current months.
“The rising price of residing stays a drag on shoppers’ discretionary incomes. Households proceed to prioritise important spending, notably as falling winter temperatures push power dissipate.”