Rocky road ahead for consumers

Responding to the latest ONS Retail Sales Index figures, which showed 10.0% year-on-year sales growth in January (value, non-seasonally adjusted retail sales excluding fuel: J3L2), Helen Dickinson, Chief Executive of the British Retail Consortium, said:“Sales growth fell slightly in February as rising concerns about inflation appeared to dampen consumer appetites. Stronger sales results could be seen for clothing and footwear, while food spend remained down on last year for the second consecutive month. Online sales fell as compared to last year, when the country was in its third lockdown, as more people returned to the shops. Nonetheless, as competition for limited consumer spend increases, retailers must continue to invest in their physical and digital offerings.”

“Consumers face a rocky road ahead, with rises in the energy price cap and NI contributions both coming next week. Meanwhile confidence has been knocked by the continued rise in inflation, as well as the uncertainty created by the situation in Ukraine. While the Chancellor’s Spring Statement offered some relief for consumers, rising inflation and next week’s rise in the energy price cap mean that real discretionary incomes are likely to fall in the coming months, as the cost of living soars.”