January food sales fall to lowest level since May 2021

Food sales in January saw the biggest fall since May last year, as more people opted to dine out more following the easing of Covid-19 restrictions.

According to The Office for National Statistics (ONS), food sales slumped 2.3% below pre-pandemic levels for the first time and was 0.8% below where they were in February 2020.

Commenting on the figures the British Retail Consortium CEO Helen Dickinson attributed the slump in food sales to Covid-19 restrictions in January 2021, when most of the country was in lockdown and households were unable to eat out.

However, despite a dip in food sales, fuel sales rose by 4.1% in January 2022 following a fall of 5% in December 2021, resulting in sales volumes in January 2022 were 3.3% below their February 2020 levels.

The news comes as supermarkets are being urged not to hike up fuel prices as the cost of oil rises to nearly $100 a barrel, according to the RAC.

The ONS also revealed online spending values fell in January 2022 by 4.5% when compared with December 2021 because of sharp monthly falls in food, clothing and other non-food stores.

“Following a rise in high street footfall towards the end of the month, the proportion of online sales dropped to its lowest level since March 2020, while an increase in road traffic helped push fuel sales up from December,” ONS director of economic statistics Darren Morgan said.

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