UK Retail Sales have Fallen for 5 Consecutive Months

The latest data shows that retail sales in the UK have unexpectedly declined for the fifth consecutive month, indicating a sharp decline in British consumer confidence.

The Office for National Statistics said on Friday that sales of physical and online merchandise dropped by 0.2% last month. Economists had expected an increase of 0.6%. Despite panic buying during the supply crisis, this is still the longest consecutive decline since the data has been recorded.

These data not only illustrate the weakness of expenditures, but also indicate a major shift in consumption patterns. Although total sales are still higher than before the epidemic, sales in clothing and department stores have both declined. Food and fuel sales have increased, and clothing store sales have also seen monthly growth.

Darren Morgan, head of economic statistics at the National Bureau of Statistics of the United Kingdom, said: “Despite the removal of travel restrictions, in-store retail sales are still sluggish, and many consumers still choose to shop online.”

The Bank of England policy makers worry that after the end of the supply shortage and the social blockade, consumer spending is increasing inflationary pressures. Financial markets expect the Bank of England to raise interest rates next month, although the Bank of England chief economist Huw Pill said in the media on Thursday that the decision was a “delicate balance.”

While the Bank of England turned its attention to inflation, consumers also felt the effects of rising prices, increased taxes, and shortages of goods in stores. These problems have strained family finances and contributed to a sharp decline in people’s confidence in the economic prospects.

Bloomberg economist Niraj Shah said, “The UK’s retail sales fell unexpectedly again in September, increasing the downside risk of the third quarter economic growth data. Rising inflation may lead to a decline in living standards, which also hurts the outlook for the last quarter of this year. .”

Helen Dickinson, chief executive officer of the British Retail Association, said: “Retailers are worried about declining sales when they begin to prepare for the crucial Christmas.” “Fuel shortages, wet weather and low consumer confidence. All have led to a decline in consumer demand this month, and household goods, furniture and books have been hit particularly hard.”

Due to panic buying during the supply crisis, the drop in oil prices last month was even more surprising. The National Bureau of Statistics of the United Kingdom, fuel sales increased by 2.9% that month, surpassing the level before the epidemic. This boosted sales at some gas stations, but hit other gas stations that were under-supply.

Earlier last Friday, another survey by market research company GfK showed that consumer confidence dropped sharply in October.