Retailers struggled in December as under pressure shoppers cut back on spending

Written by on 20 January 2023

Retailers struggled in December as under-pressure shoppers cut back on spending

The vital Christmas period proved tougher for UK retailers than experts had forecast, new official data shows.

Retail sales volumes were estimated to have dropped by 1% in December, the second month of decline, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said on Friday.

Experts had predicted a 0.5% rise, according to a consensus from Pantheon Macroeconomics.

It is the latest sign of the pressure the cost-of-living crisis is putting on households up and down the country.

Spending in non-food shops dropped by 2.1% during the month.

Sales in food stores proved more resilient, with just a 0.3% drop in December. Sales in these shops had risen 1% in November, leading some to speculate buyers were stocking up early for Christmas.

Sales volumes were 1.7% below their February 2020 levels, before the Covid-19 pandemic struck.

ONS deputy director for surveys and economic indicators, Heather Bovill, said: “Retail sales dropped again in December, with feedback suggesting consumers cut back on their Christmas shopping due to affordability concerns.

“After last month’s boost as shoppers stocked up early, food sales fell back again in December with supermarkets reporting this was due to increased food prices and the rising cost of living.”

Published: by Radio NewsHub

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