Retail sales fell 0.3% in April from a year earlier, marking the first drop in 15 months as rising living costs began to affect shoppers’ habits.
According to the latest data from British Retail Consortium (BRC) and KPMG’s retail sales monitor, covering the four weeks of April 3-30, 2022, declined in April against a 51.1% increase in April 2021. This is below the average quarterly growth of 3.2% and the average growth for 12 months of 6.4%.
Retail sales in the United Kingdom decreased by 1.7% on a similar basis from April 2021, when they increased by 39.6%. This is also below the average quarterly growth of 0.1% and the average growth for 12 months of 3.3%.
In the three months to April, food sales fell 1.8% on a similar basis and 1.3% on a total basis. By comparison, retail sales of non-food products increased by 1.8% on a similar basis and 6.9% on a total basis of h, but this is still below the 12-month overall average growth of 11.1%. In April, non-food products decreased compared to the previous year.
Helen Dickinson, CEO of BRC, said: “Rising living costs have shattered consumer confidence and put a brake on consumer spending. Sales growth has been slowing since January, although the real extent of this decline has been overshadowed by rising inflation.
“Big tickets were the hardest hit, as consumers predominated in the cost of furniture, electricity and other household items; complicated by delays in goods coming from China. Meanwhile, thanks to the April sun, garden goods and fashion have seen higher sales, especially casual wear, as consumers prepare for summer and this year’s wedding season.
She added: “Customers are facing a difficult year; as the Bank of England forecasts inflation to reach over 10%. Retailers are experiencing higher costs as a result of rising commodity prices, transport costs, labor shortages, port delays and the war in Ukraine.
“Additional headwinds are coming, such as rising global food prices, which rose 13% between March and April. Retailers will continue to do their utmost to mitigate the effects of these cost increases, but unfortunately not everyone can afford them. ”