Fri, 29 Sep 2023

LONDON, England: As prices in stores throughout Britain rise, British consumers shopped less in May and also expressed less confidence in the UK economy.

In statistics reported by the Office for National Statistics, sales volumes fell 0.5 percent in May, though slightly less than expected.

The UK saw fewer purchases of groceries by consumers in May, said Heather Bovill, of the Office for National Statistics.

"Feedback from supermarkets suggested customers were spending less on their food shopping, because of the rising cost of living," Bovill said, as quoted by Reuters.

Additionally, last week Britain's oldest gauge of consumer confidence, the GfK survey, fell to a record 48 year low.

"The consumer mood is currently darker than in the early stages of the COVID pandemic, the result of the 2016 Brexit referendum and even the shock of the 2008 global financial crisis, and now there's talk of a looming recession," said Joe Staton of GfK, as reported by Reuters.

Concerns have been voiced about the reduction in living standards being translated into votes

in parliamentary by-elections for Prime Minister Boris Johnson's Conservative Party.

Johnson has, however, pledged to seek answers to the ongoing cost-of-living crisis.

Inflation in the UK has reached a 40 year high of 9.1 percent and, according to the Bank of England, is expected to reach greater than 11 percent in October.

The Office for National Statistics noted that food store sales was down 1.6 percent in May, compared to April.

"Many customers are buying down, particularly with food, choosing value range items where they might previously have bought premium goods," noted Helen Dickinson of the British Retail Consortium, according to Reuters.

It was also reported that sales have fallen 4.7 percent compared to one year ago.

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