Decline in U.K. Retail Sales Continues

Retail sales in the U.K. experienced another drop in October, as consumers grapple with the ongoing high cost of living.

According to data from the Office for National Statistics, retail volumes slipped 0.3% compared to the previous month. This decline follows a 1.1% fall in September.

Economists polled by The Wall Street Journal had anticipated a 0.5% increase in sales for October, highlighting the unexpected nature of this decline.

In comparison to the same time last year, total retail volumes were down by 2.7%, exceeding economists’ predictions of a 1.6% decline.

The decrease in sales was observed across various categories. Automotive fuel sales, for instance, saw a 2% decrease, indicating the impact of rising fuel prices on consumer spending.

Food-store sales also dropped by 0.3%, while non-food stores experienced a decline of 0.2%. The agency attributed part of this decrease to wet weather during the latter half of the month, which likely dampened shoppers’ willingness to spend. On the other hand, non-store retailing, mainly comprising e-commerce, witnessed a contrary increase of 0.8% following a previous decline.

These findings demonstrate the ongoing challenges faced by the retail sector in the U.K., as consumers continue to feel the financial strain.

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