Amid raging inflation, Britain’s retail sales decreased by 0.3 per cent in April year on year, against an increase of 51.1 per cent in April 2021, and it was the first time in 15 months for sales growth to go into decline, industry data revealed.
This is below the three-month average growth of 3.2 per cent and the 12-month average growth of 6.4 per cent, Xinhua news agency quoted a statement issued by the British Retail Consortium on Tuesday.
Since the figures are not adjusted for inflation, the real drop would be much larger it added.
“The rising cost of living has crushed consumer confidence and put the brakes on consumer spending. Sales growth has been slowing since January, though the real extent of this decline has been masked by rising inflation,” said Helen Dickinson, chief executive of the industry body.
Big-ticket items have been hit hardest, as consumers reined in spending on furniture, electricals and other homeware, Dickinson added.
Britain’s Consumer Price Index rose by 7 per cent in March, hitting a new 30-year high. It is expected to surge further, mainly due to a much higher energy price cap since April.
In its monetary policy summary published on May 5, the Bank of England said the country’s inflation is expected to rise further over the rest of the year, to just over 9 per cent in the second quarter of 2022 and averaging slightly over 10 per cent at its peak in the fourth quarter.