Retail sales run out of fuel

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Food sales increased 2.3% on a total basis and 1.7% on a like-for-like basis over the three months to September, new figures show.

The British Retail Consortium-KPMG Retail Sales Monitor shows food sales grew year-on-year in September.

In addition, overall UK retail sales decreased 0.6% on a like-for-like basis from September 2020, when they had increased 6.1%. However, retail sales grew 5.8% during September compared with the same month pre-pandemic (2019).

Susan Barratt, Chief Executive of IGD, said: “With no big calendar events to drive sales, the food and drink sector put in a lacklustre performance in September. It was an uneasy month for shoppers, with a continual flow of news around the availability of food and fuel; sales slowed compared to August and were slightly down year-on-year. However, performance is still significantly elevated compared to the pre-pandemic period of September 2019.”

Paul Martin, UK Head of Retail at KPMG, added: “Growth in food and drink sales was muted at 0.26% and grocers will be hoping that with Halloween and bonfire night falling over weekends, consumers will be planning gatherings involving lots of food and drink to help boost sales in the coming weeks.

“Fuel panic buying bought into sharp focus the impact supply chain bottlenecks and labour shortages can quickly have for consumers. The energy crisis is set to have further impact on inflation levels, putting pressure on household spending and retailers will be hoping for some good news from the Chancellor in his Budget to help them manage rising costs.”