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Retail sales fell unexpectedly for the fifth month in a row, driven by a sharp decline in furniture stores.

Britain’s monthly retail sales volume fell 0.2% in September from August, the Office for National Statistics said on Friday, missing forecasts of a 0.5% expansion in a poll Reuters.

“After enjoying a post-pandemic recovery for most of the year, September was a tougher month for retailers as shoppers tightened their belts amid talk of a cost crisis. life, ”said Lynda Petherick, Head of Retail at Accenture UKI.

Sales at household goods stores such as furniture and lighting stores fell 9.3% in September. They were “the main driver” of the decline, as food sales rose, said Darren Morgan, ONS director of economic statistics.

In contrast, automotive fuel sales volumes rose 2.9%, reflecting strong demand as a fuel crisis sparked panic buying at the pump, pushing gasoline sales above their peak. level before the pandemic for the first time.

Compared with February 2020, before the first restrictions, sales increased by 4.2%.

Despite the easing of Covid-19 restrictions over the summer, in-store retail sales remain low and the proportion of online retail sales rose to 28% in September, significantly higher than the 19.7 % of February 2020 before the pandemic, suggesting some switch to online spending.

Separate data from research firm GfK showed on Friday that fuel shortages, soaring gasoline prices and rising infections dampened consumer confidence in October, which, combined with disappointing retail sales. , is fueling concerns about a pickup in UK consumer spending.

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