UK retail sales contracted in May as consumers tightened their belts amid the cost of living crisis, fueling fears of a downturn in the UK economy.
The number of goods bought in the UK fell by 0.5% in the April-May period, reversing the Expansion last monthaccording to data released by the National Bureau of Statistics on Friday.
That was only slightly better than the 0.7% decline forecast by economists polled by Reuters.
However, even with the drop in volume, shoppers spent 0.6% more than the previous month, exposing the impact of the surge inflation About family finances.
Heather Bowell, deputy director of surveys and economic indicators at the ONS, said the drop in May was “driven by lower food sales”.
She added that feedback from supermarkets indicated that “customers are spending less in food stores due to the rising cost of living”.
Food sales fell 1.6%. The increase in clothing sales was boosted by consumers buying for the summer holidays, but was offset by a 2.3% decline in household goods, Bovill said. Sales at department stores also fell sharply.
retail sales Sales have eased from last spring’s peak as consumers resumed spending at bars and restaurants (not included in the data) instead of groceries.
Meanwhile, separate data from research firm GfK on Friday showed that UK consumer confidence fell in June lowest level since records began 1974.
Both groups increased possibility of economic contraction in the second quarter.
Investec economist Ellie Henderson said the scale of rising gas and energy costs, as well as other hardships facing households, including increases in National Insurance payments, “will almost certainly slow down the high street significantly in 2022. The pace of activity, because of all.”