UK retail sales slump in March as inflation spirals

UK retail sales fell by more than expected in March as surging inflation hit demand, according to official data released on Friday.
Retail sales volumes fell by 1.4% last month compared with February, the Office for National Statistics said, worse than expectations for a 0.3% monthly drop.

Sales of food and petrol, where prices have spiralled in recent months, fell sharply, the ONS said.

Online retail sales, which boomed during Covid pandemic lockdowns, also fell, it added.

Food store sales volumes fell by 1.1% in March 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”, the ONS said

Automotive fuel sales volumes fell by 3.8% “with other data sources indicating that some non-essential road travel had been reduced following record high petrol and diesel prices”.

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