UK retail sales dropping at fastest rate since lockdown

Retail sales have fallen for the third consective month as inflation hits household budgets.

Shoppers are cutting back on purchases of white goods such as fridges and dishwashers, as well as opting for cheaper brands when buying food and other items, according to the latest Retail Sales Monitor from the British Retail Consortium (BRC) and KPMG.

Overall retail sales dropped by 1% in June 2022, the third decline in a row.

Prices in the UK are currently rising at the fastest rate for 40 years, driven by soaring energy and fuel costs.

Paul Martin, UK head of retail at KPMG, said that people were cutting back on spending “against a backdrop of unprecedented price rises on the high street”.

Online shopping continued to fall in June, with total sales down 9%. The biggest falls were seen for non-food purchases related to the home, such as furniture, home appliances and computing.

However, there was some relief for food and drink retailers thanks to the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee celebrations, with sales up by almost 1.5% year-on-year.

“Sales volumes are falling to a rate not seen since the depths of the pandemic, as inflation continues to bite, and households cut back spending,” said BRC chief executive Helen Dickinson.

“While the Jubilee weekend gave food sales a temporary boost, and fashion sales benefited from the summer holiday and wedding season, this was not enough to counter the substantial slowdown in consumer spending.”