Retail gross sales volumes took a shock dip final month to attain their longest shedding streak on document, in line with official figures launched as a measure of client confidence confirmed a droop to ranges final seen in February.
The Workplace for Nationwide Statistics (ONS) reported that gross sales volumes declined by 0.2% in September.
Economists had anticipated a raise of 0.5% regardless of customers attending to grips with rising prices of many necessities because the economic system endures disruption from provide chain difficulties together with the shortage of workers.
The ONS stated the autumn meant that volumes had fallen every month since April, making it the longest interval for shrinking gross sales since data started in 1996.
Nonetheless, its number-crunchers revealed that regardless of the efficiency, volumes remained 4.2% above their pre-pandemic stage.
The info confirmed rising gross sales in two classes – meals and gasoline.
The latter was boosted, the ONS stated, by the panic shopping for frenzy in direction of the tip of the month with 2.9% progress being recorded as motorists rushed to the pumps.
Non-food shops reported a fall of 1.4% in gross sales volumes.
ONS director of financial statistics, Darren Morgan, stated bodily shops continued to battle on the expense of these with an online-heavy presence.
“Family items have been the primary driver of this month’s decline with a fall of practically 10%, whereas meals gross sales ticked again up after falling final month.
“Petrol gross sales exceeded their pre-pandemic stage for the primary time, with filling stations reporting very sturdy gross sales over the last week of September.
“Regardless of the lifting of restrictions, in-store retail gross sales stay subdued, with many customers nonetheless opting to buy on-line.”
The report was launched as a separate examine confirmed client confidence had fallen this month to hit its lowest stage since February when the UK was in its final COVID-19 lockdown.
The GfK measure – the nation’s longest-running survey of its sort – was taken amid rising warnings from economists and the Bank of England that costs are set to cost ahead over the winter months.
The worldwide provide disruption, which is a consequence of demand massively outstripping provide as economies get again in gear, has additionally been exacerbated by home components as companies battle to recruit key staff resembling HGV drivers and butchers within the wake of Brexit immigration guidelines.
The most recent inflation figures, which coated September, confirmed fuel costs heading the pressures with meals prices additionally on the rise.
The tempo of worth rises is tipped to speed up markedly this month as households grapple the 12% rise within the power worth cap following a leap in wholesale fuel prices that’s anticipated so as to add to payments additional subsequent spring.
One economist advised Sky Information this week that the cap may see an additional spike of 30% when the subsequent assessment takes impact in April.
Petrol retailers have additionally warned that prices will reach a record high by the tip of the month.
The inflation image is necessary within the retail context as surging prices restrict family spending energy within the economic system – one that’s normally reliant on client spending.
Helen Dickinson, chief government of the British Retail Consortium, stated of the ONS information: “Retailers shall be involved by the droop in gross sales, simply as they start their preparations for the all-important Christmas interval.
“Gas shortages, moist climate, and low client confidence all contributed to decrease client demand this month.”
She added: “For the sake of the UK’s financial restoration, it’s critical that retail gross sales bounce again as we close to the festive season.
“Labour shortages throughout the provision chains, on farms, factories, warehouses and lorry drivers, all threaten to derail this restoration and it is important that authorities finds a long run answer to this drawback.
“Labour shortages, alongside greater power, commodity, and transport prices, are all placing strain on costs, with three in 5 retailers warning of upper costs earlier than Christmas.”