Latest retail sales figures reflect the pressure on UK high streets as households struggle to meet rising food and fuel bills.
The Consumer Prices Index (CPI) inflation rate was 4.4% in July and Retail Prices Index (RPI) 5%.
The figures look worse stripped of petrol sales, with the value of sales then put at 2.8% year on year. Strip out food sales and they look worse still with the increase in value on July 2010 reduced to 0.2%.
Retailers of household goods are suffering the most with sales volumes down 4.1% year on year and a 3.4% decline in value.
Sales by retailers excluding food, clothing and household goods were down 2% in volume year on year last month and down 1.5% in value – a sharp fall against a 4.4% rise in prices
The ONS figures, released today, show web sales growing but prices online also falling. The volume of non-store retailing was up 16.9% year on year and the value 16.1% – taking the sector to 4.5% of total sales. The ONS estimates average web prices fell 0.8% year on year last month, meaning a relative decline year on year – allowing for inflation – of more than 5%.
Major retailers appear to have fared much better than small and medium-sized companies, with those employing 100 or more staff showing growth in sales value of 5.8%. Only the smallest retailers with fewer than 10 employees also showed growth (of 3.7%), with retailers in the middle squeezed.
The value of sales among retailers with between 10 and 39 employees fell by 15.4% year on year, possibly reflecting a decline in this sector as businesses close.
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