Responding to the latest ONS Retail Sales Index figures, Helen Dickinson, Chief Executive of the British Retail Consortium, said:
“The cost of living crunch caused by record inflation continue to damage consumer confidence and stifle household spending. Discretionary spending and particularly bigger purchases were put off as consumers become increasingly concerned about the future. As a result, furniture sales and white goods were particularly hard hit, while food sales held up a little better.
“Retailers are squeezed between higher costs and weaker demand, resulting in the most challenging trading period since the start of the pandemic. Retailers are playing their part to help households by absorbing as many of these costs as possible, expanding their value ranges, and offering discounts for some vulnerable groups. With the government consultation on the design of the Transitional Relief scheme for the 2023 ending today, there is a clear opportunity to remove some of the burden on retailers that limits their ability to absorb more of the incoming costs.”