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MNI BRIEF: UK Retail Sales Slump As Households Squeezed


UK retail sales fell sharply in September as the cost-of-living squeeze and the late Queen's funeral slowed consumers' spending. Overall sales (by volume) fell 1.4% on the month, exceeding expectations for a modest 0.3% decline. That will leave the sector weighing on Q3 GDP by -0.1%, a greater contraction than the -0.06% seen in Q2.

Food store sales volumes fell by 1.8% in September 2022, which leaves them 3.2% below their pre-coronavirus levels in February 2020, the Office for National Statistics said. “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,” ONS Director of Economic Statistics Darren Morgan noted.

Sales in the coming months could also be pressured, despite the looming Christmas holidays.

With no sign of a strong pick-up in household spending, Joe Staton, head of GfK's consumer survey, told MNI Thursday that retailers would be downhearted to see a further slowdown in the Major Purchase Index in October. Staton said the fall in the purchase indicator is especially worrying for the final quarter of the year, which many businesses rely on to strengthen their balance sheets. GfK's Major Purchase Index fell 3 points to -41; 31 points lower than last October (MNI INTERVIEW: UK Consumer Sentiment Off Lows, Headwinds Build)

MNI London Bureau | +44 203-865-3812 |
MNI London Bureau | +44 203-865-3812 |

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