Reuters. FILE PHOTO: A female runs on the trolley as she shops at a supermarket in East London, in the Eastern Cape province, South Africa, July 7, 2022. REUTERS/Siphiwe Sibeko
LONDON (Reuters) – British retailers saw the slowest growth in sales because the end of COVID-19 lockdowns this past year as shoppers tightened their belts when confronted with soaring inflation, business consultancy BDO said on Friday.
Total like-for-like retail sales increased by 3.6% in August weighed against exactly the same month this past year and online sales fell by 0.6%, their first decline since March.
“September’s results will show precisely how significant the pull-back in discretionary spending may very well be this winter but clearly these results in August show that individuals are cutting their budgets,” BDO Head of Retail Sophie Michael said.
“Individuals are deferring the purchase of big ticket items as households prioritise essential spend,” Michael said.
Slower sales growth for fashion and lifestyle items raised concerns prior to the autumn and Christmas periods, she said.
However, economists say Britain’s high inflation rate – which hit 10.1% in July – now looks more likely to slow after new Prime Minister Liz Truss announced an idea on Thursday to cap surging household energy prices.