August saw retail sales drop at the fastest rate since the immediate aftermath of the EU referendum, driven by increasing pressure from inflation.
According to new data from the Confederation of British Industry (CBI), August saw a reading of -10 per cent on the confederation’s Distributive Trades Survey, compared to +22 just a month earlier.
The grocery sector was once again the standout performer, seeing stable year-on-year sales thanks to strong growth throughout July.
Elsewhere the combination of rising import costs and dwindling consumer confidence has seen sales plunge.
The survey also laid bare a decline in retail employment over the year to August, growing at the fastest pace in eight years. The CBI said that retailers “expect the business situation to continue to deteriorate over the next three months for the third quarter in a row.”
CBI’s head of economic intelligence Anna Leach added: “Despite the warmer weather at the start of the month, retail sales have cooled as higher inflation continues to squeeze consumers’ pockets.
“Looking ahead, firms do expect sales growth to recover, but the pressures on household budgets are set to persist, given little sign of wages picking up.”