The fast-rising cost of living forced British consumers to cut back on their purchases in May, as figures released on Friday showed that a gain in sales in April was sharply revised downward.
Sales volumes down by 0.5 percent in May, according to the Office for National Statistics, which is less than the 0.7 percent decline predicted by analysts surveyed by Reuters.
Following an annual review of the ONS’s seasonal adjustments procedure, it also stated that it now anticipated that sales volumes in April increased by 0.4 percent from March, down from the first reported increase of 1.4 percent.
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Food sales were down in May, according to Heather Bovill, deputy director for surveys and economic indicators at ONS.
Because of the increased cost of living, she said, supermarket feedback indicated that people were spending less on their grocery shopping.
Following a 1.4 percent decline in the three months ending in April, retail sales decreased by 1.3 percent in the three months ending in May.
Sales volumes were 4.7% lower than they were a year earlier.
Sales volumes were down 0.7 percent from the previous month and by 5.7 percent annually when fuel, whose price has skyrocketed, was excluded.
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According to the Bank of England, overall UK inflation is currently at a 40-year high of 9.1 percent and is expected to increase further to more than 11 percent in October.
The GfK poll, which has tracked consumer confidence in Britain since 1974, dropped to its lowest level earlier on Friday.
After the retail sales figures, the pound momentarily declined before strengthening.
Food shop sales dropped by 1.6 percent from April to May, the most since January, according to the ONS.
According to the ONS, the increase in automotive fuel sales volumes may be due to a decline in the number of people who work only from home.