The cost of living crisis keeps on curtailing consumers’ ability to spend on non-essential items. This autumn’s exceptionally hot weather also deterred people from buying winter clothes.
Non-food stores sales in the UK fell by 1.9% in September compared to the same time last year, according to the country’s Office for National Statistics (ONS)
High street stores are not the only ones feeling the hit, with online retail sales having also declined by 2.2%.
The trend has been a common sight this year, with sales volume falling by 0.8% on average during the three summer months as well.
On the other hand, essential items have seen a rise in sales, according to the ONS, with a 0.2% increase for food and 0.8% increase for fuel.
The office noted however that “comparisons with September 2022 should be interpreted with caution, as the data were affected by many retailers closing for the state funeral of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.”
Hot weather and inflation to blame
September of this year was the hottest on record globally, with the UK regularly recording temperatures above 30°C.
The national Meteorological Office said last month’s temperatures were 2.2°C above the past three decades’ average for September.
Although an Indian summer can be quite pleasant, it’s neither a good sign for the planet, nor apparently retail sales.
Due to the milder weather, consumers chose to delay their purchase of autumn and winter clothes, as shown by the latest ONS retail data.
On top of the weather conditions, the cost of living crisis, a trickle-down effect of Russia’s war against Ukraine, still weighs heavily on people’s spending habits.
The UK is suffering from the highest inflation rate of the G7 countries, at 6.7% for September.
Although no worse than the previous month, it is still way above Bank of England’s 2% target, which is so far choosing to maintain its borrowing rate at the 15-year high of 5.25%.