Supermarkets drive third month of decline in food store sales volumes

Food store sales volumes have fallen for the third consecutive month, driven by supermarkets.

According to the latest figures from the Office for National Statistics, food store sales volumes declined by 0.8% in April, down from a fall of 0.7% in March.

Retailers reported the cost of living and the impact of rising fuel prices as factors for the drop in performance.

Overall retail sales volumes fell by 2.3% in April, following a dip of 0.2% in March as poor weather reduced footfall.


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While sales volumes fell across most sectors, the dampened performance was driven by clothing retailers, sports equipment, games and toy stores, and furniture stores.

For non-food stores, sales volumes fell by 4.1% in April – the joint largest fall since January 2021.

While online spend suffered, having dipped 1.2% in April and by 1.5% over the year, the proportion of sales made online increased from 26.2% in March to 26.5% last month.

It comes as poor weather has badly affected the food industry, with potato prices having soared due to many farmers being unable to plant crops during the spring season due to waterlogged fields, with many crops that have been planted being of poor quality.

The Energy & Climate Intelligence Unit (ECIU) has also warned that the production of wheat, barley, oats and oilseed rape could decline by four million tonnes compared with 2023 – a reduction of 17.5%, and 21.2% compared to the 2015 to 2023 average due to wet and challenging weather conditions in the UK.

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