UK Retail Sales Fall At Slower Pace In June

UK retail sales dropped at a slower pace in June as food sales rebounded amid Jubilee celebrations but consumers spent less on clothing and household goods in response to high inflation, official data revealed Friday.

Retail sales volume fell only by 0.1 percent month-on-month in June, following a revised 0.8 percent decrease in May, the Office for National Statistics reported. This was also slower than the expected 0.3 percent fall.

Food stores sales volume advanced 3.1 percent from May, largely because of Queen’s Jubilee celebrations. But this increase was offset by falls in the other sub-sectors.

Non-food stores sales slid 0.7 percent due to weak clothing and household goods stores sales.

Automotive fuel sales volumes declined 4.3 percent in June with retailers suggesting the fall was linked to record-high petrol and diesel prices impacting the amount of fuel people were buying.

Excluding auto fuel, retail sales volume grew 0.4 percent, in contrast to the 1.0 percent decrease in May and the expected fall of 0.4 percent.

On a yearly basis, retail sales declined 5.8 percent after easing 4.7 percent in May. Sales were forecast to fall 5.3 percent.

Likewise, the annual decline in the sales volume excluding auto fuel, came in at 5.9 percent versus -5.5 percent in May. Economists had forecast a bigger decrease of 6.3 percent.

The proportion of retail sales online fell to 25.3 percent in June, its lowest proportion since March 2020, continuing a broad downward trend since its peak in February 2021.

Over the recent months, retailers reported a decline in sales volume due to increased food prices and high cost of living.

The surge in inflation and resulting big fall in real household disposable incomes means that a recession is now inevitable, Capital Economics economist Paul Dales said.

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