Figures for May revealed
In May, UK retail sales decreased by 0.4 per cent on a like-for-like basis from May 2016, when they had increased 0.5 per cent from the preceding year.
On a total basis, sales rose 0.2 per cent in May, against a growth of 1.4 per cent in May 2016.
This is the lowest since January, excluding Easter distortions, and below the 3-month and 12-month averages of 1.9 per cent and 1.2 per cent respectively.
Over the three months to May, Food sales increased 3.2 per cent ton a like-for-like basis and 4.3 per cent on a total basis.
This is the strongest 3-month average since February 2012, excluding Easter distortions.
Helen Dickinson OBE, Chief Executive, British Retail Consortium said: “After the pick-up in sales over Easter, consumer spending slowed again in May resulting in almost flat growth on the previous year. Underneath the headlines, there’s continued variation in the performance of food versus non-food products, as sales performance of the two become increasingly polarised. Food sales, albeit positively distorted by inflation, continue to see annual growth, while in non-food categories which are predominantly capturing discretionary spending, retailers find themselves having to compete even harder.
“Overall, May’s sales slowdown is indicative of a longer term trend of a decline in consumer spending power. As household budgets become increasingly squeezed by inflation, predominantly in the non-retail part of the consumer basket, it’s vital that the next Government helps retailers keep prices low for ordinary shoppers. This means, as well as securing a tariff-free trade deal with the EU, negotiating frictionless customs arrangements; providing certainty for EU colleagues working in the UK; and ensuring the continuity of existing EU legislation as it transfers into UK law.”