Responding to the latest ONS Retail Sales Index figures, Helen Dickinson, Chief Executive of the British Retail Consortium, said:
“Retail sales are being squeezed by a combination of low demand, high inflation and rising costs. The fall in demand comes as consumers reign in their discretionary spending following a significant reduction to real incomes for households across the UK. Meanwhile, retailers face higher food and commodity prices, increased shipping and transport costs, and the tightest labour market in decades.

“Retailers are working hard to support their customers by keeping costs down where they can, and expanding affordable ranges, however it is impossible to mitigate all the costs coming through their supply chains. Until inflation is brought to heel, and consumer confidence returns, retailers could be in for some difficult times ahead, with lower demand and reduced margins.”