Grocery sales slow – especially booze and tobacco

Retail sales fell in May as households reined in their grocery spending due to the cost-of-living crisis, according to official figures.

By The Newsroom
Saturday, 25th June 2022, 8:17 am

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) found that sales in supermarkets dropped 1.5% over May, with a 2.2% drop in specialist shops such as butchers and bakers.

But the biggest decline in spending was seen on alcohol and tobacco, with sales down 4%.

The data likewise showed a pull back in spending on household goods and in department stores, with sales dropping 2.3% and 1.1% respectively.

Shoppers have been raining in their shopping

It comes amid mounting signs the cost-of-living crisis is beginning to take its toll on the economy.

Consumer confidence this month hit its lowest level since records began in 1974, according to data from market research firm GfK, also out on Friday.

And supermarket giant Asda said earlier this week that some shoppers were asking cashiers to stop scanning items when the till total hits £30 to cut costs.

Inflation has now reached a fresh 40-year high of 9.1% and there are fears a large drop in spending by consumers may tip the UK into a recession.

Heather Bovill, deputy director for surveys and economic indicators at the ONS, said: “Feedback from supermarkets suggested customers were spending less on their food shop.

“More workers returning to the office may have contributed to increased fuel sales this month while shoppers buying outfits for summer holidays helped boost clothing sales.”

Kantar, another market research firm, warned earlier this week that shoppers will see their annual grocery bill jump by £380 to £4,960 in 2022.