UK retail sales unexpectedly fell in August due to a supply chain disruption and a shift in consumer spending from supermarkets to pubs and restaurants as pandemic restrictions were relaxed.
the National Statistics Office said retail sales were down 0.9% in August, after a steeper 2.8% decline in July. While spending remains above pre-pandemic levels, the city’s economists had forecast a 0.5% increase.
According to the latest snapshot, grocery sales fell 1.2% in the month after the impact of the relaxation of hospitality restrictions as people increased their spending on social activities such as eating and drinking in restaurants, pubs and bars.
However, sales fell in a variety of other categories, including a sharp drop in department stores as the disruption in supply chains weighed on retailers.
Britain’s largest retailers have warned that inventory levels are at their lowest since the 1980s as the economy is under increasing pressure from the labor and goods shortages due to the fallout from Covid-19 and Brexit.