Interactive Investor

High inflation drives retail sales as volumes fall

9th May 2023 08:40

by Myron Jobson from interactive investor

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interactive investor's Myron Jobson comments on the latest BRC retail sales.

Commenting, Myron Jobson, Senior Personal Finance Analyst, interactive investor, says: “Retail sales experienced robust growth last month, but a closer look at the data reveals it’s not all as it seems. Volumes for both food and non-food were down last month as the ongoing cost-of-living squeeze on budgets continue to force many Britons to adjust their spending habits. Baskets are getting smaller and more of us are ditching premium brands for cheaper alternatives, while many are reducing spend on nice-to-have’ items. Shoppers are also switching to discounters such as Aldi and Lidl to bid to save where they can.

“April was a painful month for personal finances, with price rises seemingly coming from all directions. Energy bills have gone up following the end of the government's £400 winter discount initiative, with council tax, water, prescriptions, broadband and mobile bills also rising. 

“Many shoppers are running on empty, and as inflation continues to run hot, shoppers face hard choices over how to spend their money amid the cost-of-living crisis. More and more of us are having to stretch budgets to keep on top of rising prices, with little to spare for nice-to-have quality of life boosting purchases.

“This doesn’t bode well for retailers in the coming month, which face a tricky task of remaining competitive and profitable as high operational costs erode profit margins from the other end. However, the king’s Coronation celebrations may help to bolster retail sales in May, giving retailers a much-needed shot in the arm amid the cost-of-living crisis - similar to last year’s Platinum Jubilee celebration.”

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