Retail sales fall as UK consumer confidence crashes to record low

Retail sales growth fells significantly last month as consumer confidence continued to sink
“The rising cost of living and the ongoing war in Ukraine has shaken consumer confidence," - Helen Dickinson.
// Retail sales fell significantly last month as consumer confidence continued to sink
// The BRC-KPMG data showed that like-for-like retail sales were down 0.4% against the same month last year

Retail sales fell last month as the rising cost of living led to the sharpest drop in consumer confidence since the 2008 financial crisis.

Like-for-like sales were down 0.4% from March 2021, when they were up 20.3%, with hospitality shut amid Covid restrictions, according to the latest BRC-KPMG retail sales monitor.

However, total sales rose by 3.1% in March, although this was a slip back from a 6.7% rise in February.


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Experts added that the growth in total sales in March was buoyed by price rises across the sector.

Helen Dickinson, chief executive of the British Retail Consortium said: “As consumer confidence continued to sink, March saw sales slow, and while spend remained above last year this likely reflects higher prices.

“The rising cost of living and the ongoing war in Ukraine has shaken consumer confidence, with expectations of people’s personal finances over the next 12 months reaching depths not seen since the 2008 financial crisis.

“Furthermore, households are yet to feel the full impact of the recent rise in energy prices and national insurance changes.

“Ultimately, consumers face an enormous challenge this year, and this is likely to be reflected in retail spend in the future.”

Don Williams, retail partner at KPMG, added: “Sales growth in March rose at the slowest rate so far this year, suggesting clouds on the horizon as household budgets come under pressure from rising costs, an increasing tax burden and competition from holidays. There is concern on what this could mean for consumer confidence and the impact on discretionary spend.”

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