Retail sales drop in September

Retail sales fell by 0.9 per cent last month following an increase of 0.4 per cent in August, according to the latest ONS figures.

The data revealed that sales volumes were also down 0.8 per cent across the three months to September compared with the previous 12-week period.

Commenting on the retail figures, Helen Dickinson, chief executive of the British Retail Consortium (BRC), said: “As mortgages, rents and fuel costs continued to weigh on households, sales were impacted for big ticket items such as computers, electricals and larger household appliances. Meanwhile, cosmetics and toiletries had another strong month."

During the month, non-food stores saw sales volumes decline by 1.9 per cent, with retailers attributing this to cost of living pressures and unseasonably warm weather which reduced sales of autumn-wear clothing.

Online retailers saw sales decline by around 2.2 per cent, following a fall of 0.9 per cent in August.

Food stores were the only category to see sales volumes rise.

“Food was one of the only categories that bucked the decline with volumes up 0.2 per cent," said Gizem Günday, partner at McKinsey & Co. "While the Rugby World Cup and Indian summer likely gave people cause to come together and celebrate with barbeques and picnics, the divergence between volume and value continues to increase as people cut back on consumption."

Günday added that slowing rates of grocery price inflation are yet to translate into volume but will "hopefully be a welcome relief to shoppers as some prices start to stabilise".

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