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Data from the Office of National Statistics today, April 22nd, showing a downward trend in retail spending as consumers cut back against the impact of rising costs.

Retail sales volumes fell by 1.4% in March 2022, following a fall of 0.5% in February 2022 (revised from a fall of 0.3%). Retail sales values, unadjusted for price changes, fell by 0.2% in March 2022, following a rise of 0.4% in February. When compared with February 2020's pre-coronavirus (COVID-19) level, total retail sales were 2.2% and 10.1% higher in volume and value terms, respectively.

  • Retail sales volumes fell by 1.4% in March 2022 following a fall of 0.5% (revised from a fall of 0.3%) in February 2022; sales volumes were 2.2% above their pre-coronavirus (COVID-19) February 2020 levels.
  • The largest contribution to the fall came from non-store retailing in which sales volumes fell by 7.9% over the month following a fall of 6.9% in February; despite these drops, sales volumes were 20.3% above their pre-coronavirus February 2020 levels.
  • Food store sales volumes fell by 1.1% in March 2022 and have fallen each month since November 2021; higher spending in pubs and restaurants linked to reduced coronavirus restrictions, as well as the impact of rising food prices on the cost of living are possible factors for reduced spending in food stores.
  • Automotive fuel sales volumes fell by 3.8% in March 2022 with other data sources indicating that some non-essential road travel had been reduced following record high petrol and diesel prices.
  • Non-food store sales volumes rose by 1.3% in March 2022 because of growth in other non-food stores (2.9%), and household goods stores (2.6%) such as DIY stores.
  • The proportion of retail sales online fell to 26.0% in March 2022, its lowest proportion since February 2020 (22.7%), continuing a broad downward trend since its peak in February 2021 (37.1%).