Shoppers continued to shun the precocious thoroughfare with income volumes falling for the 5th consecutive month—the longest continuous agelong connected record, according to authoritative statistics.
The driblet was owed to a autumn successful income volumes successful non-food stores, with lighting and furnishings businesses the hardest hit, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said.
Sales volumes successful September were down 0.2 percent, pursuing a 0.6 percent autumn successful August, though they stay 4.2 percent supra pre-pandemic levels successful February 2020.
Fuel income roseate successful the last weeks of September arsenic panic buying led to galore forecourts moving adust aft suppliers said the HGV operator shortage was affecting deliveries. Fuel income roseate 2.9 percent.
Food income volumes were besides up by 0.6 percent, the ONS added, and stay 3.9 percent supra pre-COVID levels.
But portion shoppers opted to debar precocious streets, income online continued to emergence and present relationship for 28.1 percent of each spending—up from 27.9 percent successful August.
There was a peculiar surge successful section store income online, up by 3.8 percent, meaning astir 10 p ($0.13) successful each £1 ($1.38) spent online goes to the likes of John Lewis, Debenhams, oregon House of Fraser, the ONS said.
By comparison, household goods stores saw a 3.6 percent driblet successful online sales.
Darren Morgan, ONS manager of economical statistics, said, “Household goods were the main operator of this month’s decline, with a autumn of astir 10 percent, portion nutrient income ticked backmost up aft falling past month.
“Petrol income exceeded their pre-pandemic level for the archetypal time, with filling stations reporting precise beardown income during the past week of September.
“Despite the lifting of restrictions, in-store retail sales stay subdued, with galore consumers inactive opting to store online.”
Retail chiefs laid the blasted astatine the doorstep of the authorities and urged ministers to find ways to trim the issues with proviso chains and precocious vigor costs.
Helen Dickinson, main enforcement of the British Retail Consortium, said, “Retailers volition beryllium acrophobic by the slump successful sales, conscionable arsenic they statesman their preparations for the all-important Christmas period.
“Fuel shortages, bedewed weather, and debased user assurance each contributed to little user request this month, with household goods, furniture, and books each deed peculiarly hard.”
She added: “For the involvement of the UK’s economical recovery, it is captious that retail income bounce backmost arsenic we adjacent the festive season.
“Labour shortages crossed the proviso chains, connected farms, factories, warehouses, and lorry drivers, each endanger to derail this betterment and it is captious that authorities finds a semipermanent solution to this problem.”
Looking forward, commentators said the remainder of the twelvemonth could spot accepted festive buying patterns displacement arsenic a effect of the problems.
Silvia Rindone, EY UK and Ireland retail expert, said: “Over caller years, shoppers person tended to hold until precocious December to bargain for Christmas successful the anticipation of bagging immoderate large bargains.
“However this year, with quality of proviso concatenation disruption and proviso concerns for cardinal products, shoppers are apt to propulsion guardant their non-perishable Christmas spending into October and November to marque definite they get what they want.”
By Simon Neville