No Christmas boost as retail sales volumes fall 1%

Retail sales volumes fell by 1% in December 2022 after a 0.5% fall in November 2022, according to data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

Alongside this, sales volumes were down 1.7% compared with pre-pandemic levels in February 2020.

Non-food store sales volumes also dropped 2.1% over December. ONS feedback from retailers stated that this was down to the cost of living crisis causing people to spend less.

Food store sales volumes dropped 0.3% last month after rising 1% in November. Comments from retailers suggested that shoppers were stocking up early for Christmas.

The proportion of online sales fell to 25.4% down from 25.9%. Anecdotal evidence from ONS found that the Royal Mail strikes had caused more people to shop in stores.

Heather Bovill, deputy director for surveys and economic indicators, said: “After last month’s boost as shoppers stocked up early, food sales fell back again in December with supermarkets reporting this was due to increased food prices and the rising cost of living.”

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