• December 7, 2022

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UK consumers have continued to limit spending in September as they continued to feel the pain of rising food prices and escalating fuel costs.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) revealed that retail sales declined by 1.4% last month, following a 1.7% decline in August. There was also a bank holiday in the month to mark the funeral of Queen Elizabeth which saw stores closed across the nation.

Grocery store sales saw a steeper drop by 1.8% for the month of September. The continued downward trend on spend hits at a time when both retailers and consumers are dealing with the reality of a 14.5% jump in food prices, the largest increase recorded since 1980.

ONS director of economic statistics Darren Morgan said: “Retail sales continued to fall in September after a weak August, and consumers are now buying less than before the pandemic.

“Drops were seen across all main areas of retailing, with falling sales in food stores making the largest contribution.

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“Retailers told us that the fall in September was partly because many stores were closed for the Queen’s funeral, but also because of continued price pressures leading consumers to be careful about spending.”

Non-food stores including fashion retailers also recorded a 0.6% dip for the month and non-store retail (mainly online platforms) saw a 3% decline yet remains significantly higher than pre-pandemic levels.

This comes at a time that the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has highlighted that millions of people across the nation are struggling to pay bills.

The survey from the FCA makes for bleak reading; 24% of respondents were already in financial difficulty or would indeed face hardship if they suffered an economic shock.

Nearly 8 million people are finding it difficult to meet financial commitments and keep up with bill payments whilst over 4 million people had completely missed loan or bill payments in the six months prior to the survey taking place.

As the UK wakes up to another day of political and economic turmoil after Prime Minister, Liz Truss resigned serving just 44 days in office, the reality of how the uncertainty is impacting households becomes all the more prevalent.

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