Retail sales fell in May according to figures released this morning by the Office of National Statistics.
The quantity of goods bought between April and May fell by 1.2%, much worse than economists had expected.
Compared with a year earlier, sales volumes were up by 0.9%, the weakest annual growth rate since April 2013 and followed a 2.5% jump in the index in April, mainly owing to the timing of Easter and the month’s unusually warm weather
The blame for the drop in sales is being laid at the door of increases in shop prices.
The ONS said that average store prices rose by 2.8% over the year, the largest increase since March 2012.
Non-food stores were the main contributor to the slowdown after reporting an annual sales fall of 1.2%. However, food retailers reported growth of just 0.1%, that was the slowest since July 2013.
Commenting on today’s official retail figures, Ole Black, ONS Senior Statistician said:
“The year-on-year growth in the quantity bought for retail sales in May 2017 was at 0.9%. We have not seen lower growth on the year since April 2013. Increased retail prices across all sectors seem to be a significant factor in slowing growth.”