interactive investor comments on ONS Retail Sales data.
- Retail sales volumes fell by 1.4% in March 2022 following a fall of 0.5% (revised from a fall of 0.3%) in February 2022.
- Sales volumes were 2.2% above their pre-coronavirus (Covid-19) February 2020 levels.
- The largest contribution to the fall came from non-store retailing in which sales volumes fell by 7.9% over the month.
- Food store sales volumes fell by 1.1% in March 2022 and have fallen each month since November 2021.
- Higher spending in pubs and restaurants linked to reduced coronavirus restrictions, as well as the impact of rising food prices on the cost of living are possible factors for reduced spending in food stores.
Commenting, Myron Jobson, Senior Personal Finance Analyst, interactive investor, says: “Keeping a lid on spending is now a daily battle for many amid runaway inflation.
“Higher energy bills, coupled with increases in the cost of groceries and other essential services such as broadband and mobile phone tariffs, also leave less to spend on other items – reflected by a fall in non-store retailing which was the largest contribution to the fall in retail sales in March.
“Rising prices have forced many households to cut back spending on the things they want and focus on the essentials. The new era of higher inflation has only just begun and the worse is yet to come it seems, which will further impact people’s willingness and ability to fork out on anything more than the bare necessities.
“The cost-of-living crisis has gone from bad to worse since the arrival of the new energy price cap level on 1 April adding almost £700 a year to energy bills on average. Rises in council tax, water and sewage bills, mobile phone tariffs and broadband prices might appear modest when viewed individually on a monthly basis, but the costs are significant combined. Russia’s devastating invasion of Ukraine continues to exacerbate matters.
“Struggling households are facing pressure from rising prices with inflation up 7% in the 12 months to March – its highest level for 30 years. It is important now more than ever to pay extra attention to your financial well-being and consider what protective steps you can take now to avoid money worries later. If you are struggling to stay financial afloat, make sure you’re getting all the support you’re entitled to.”
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