UK retail gross sales posted their largest quarterly fall in seven years in March, as the costs of on a regular basis items continued to climb.
Gross sales had been down 1.four% on the previous quarter, and down 1.eight% in contrast with February 2017, in keeping with the Workplace for Nationwide Statistics (ONS).
Within the quarter, gross sales volumes fell in all forms of store besides these promoting textiles, clothes and footwear.
However the complete quantity spent was nonetheless larger than a yr in the past.
Kate Davies, senior statistician on the ONS, mentioned: “That is the primary time we have seen a quarterly decline since 2013, and it appears to be a consequence of value will increase throughout an entire vary of sectors.”
The ONS said common retailer costs had elevated by three.three% on the yr, the best development since March 2012.
The biggest contribution got here from petrol stations, the place costs had been up by some 16.four% on the yr.
Keith Richardson, managing director of retail at Lloyds Financial institution Business Banking, mentioned that after file development in 2016, the retail sector was slowing down.
“These figures recommend that the clouds are actually gathering over British customers,” he mentioned.
“Rising meals and petrol costs, along with slowing actual wage rises, seem like lastly prompting customers to tighten their belts, whereas the worth of the pound continues to place stress on retailers’ prices.”
Chris Williamson, chief enterprise economist at IHS Markit, mentioned the pattern appeared to have continued into the second quarter.
“The most recent IHS survey knowledge confirmed the amount of money that households had accessible to spend fell in April to the best extent for 2 and a half years,” he added.
“Spending was supported by households consuming additional into their financial savings and taking over extra debt [which] is clearly unsustainable in the long term”.
There have been some vivid spots within the ONS figures, with textiles, clothes and footwear gross sales rising by 6.5% year-on-year within the quarter.
On-line gross sales additionally continued to rise, climbing 19.5% within the 12 months to March and up zero.5% in contrast with February 2017.