Retail British shoppers continue to cut back as retail sales fall in May By Reuters June 24, 2022 Creative Commons Britain's longest-running gauge of consumer confidence, the GfK survey, fell to its lowest since records began in 1974. May sales volumes fell by 0.5% on the monthFall was driven by a decline in food salesRetail sales in the three months to May fell by 1.3 percentCompared with a year ago, sales volumes were 4.7 percent lower.UK inflation is running at a 40-year high of 9.1% British consumers cut back on shopping in May in the face of fast-rising inflation, and an increase in sales in April was revised down sharply, according to data that on Friday provided further evidence of a cost-of-living squeeze. The Office for National Statistics said May sales volumes fell by 0.5 percent on the month, a slightly smaller fall than the 0.7 percent expected by economists polled by Reuters. It also said it now estimated that sales volumes in April rose by 0.4 percent from March, down from an originally reported 1.4 percent increase, after an annual review of the ONS’ seasonal adjustments process. May’s fall was driven by a decline in food sales, said Heather Bovill, ONS deputy director for surveys and economic indicators. “Feedback from supermarkets suggested customers were spending less on their food shop, because of the rising cost of living,” she said. Retail sales in the three months to May fell by 1.3 percent after falling by 1.4 percent in the three months to April. Compared with a year ago, sales volumes were 4.7 percent lower. Excluding fuel, which has soared in price, sales volumes were down by 0.7 percent on the month and by 5.7 percent in annual terms. Overall UK inflation is running at a 40-year high of 9.1 percent and, according to the Bank of England, is set to rise further to more than 11 percent in October. Earlier on Friday, Britain’s longest-running gauge of consumer confidence, the GfK survey, fell to its lowest since records began in 1974. Sterling weakened briefly after the retail sales data before recovering. The ONS said food store sales fell by 1.6 percent in May from April, the biggest monthly fall since January. Automotive fuel sales volumes rose by 1.1 percent, possibly reflecting a fall in the number of people working exclusively from home, the ONS said.