The latest retail figures from the British Retail Consortium (BRC) and KPMG highlight why it is imperative a new government is formed as soon as possible to ease any consumer fears about the economy and the cost of living.
April retail sales fell by 2.3 per cent on a like-for-like basis compared to the same month in 2009 - and one reason given for this drop in value was a lack of consumer confidence.
It would seem that people want to know who is going to be in charge of the UK and the policies they will implement before they increase their levels of spending. The hung parliament that now exists is sure to foster further uncertainty.
BRC-KPMG figures also indicate that April total sales fell by 0.2 per cent, compared to the 6.3 per cent increase reported one year before.
Pre-election uncertainty and the positioning of Easter resulted in both food and non-food sales falling back, while sales of clothing and footwear also slowed.
As seems to be the case on a monthly basis, non-food, non-store item trading increased in April - this time by 15.9 per cent year-on-year.
BRC Director General Stephen Robertson said: “There’s no question customers are more willing to spend than 12 months ago, but still nervous.
“People need to know how a new government’s moves to tackle the deficit will affect their incomes and jobs. Even if the measures are tough, knowing what they are could be better than current uncertainty.”