U.K. retail sales fell in June for the fourth time in five months, dragged by lower fuel sales, adding to evidence of a weakening in consumer spending as the cost-of-living crisis intensifies.
Retail sales volumes decreased 0.1% in June on month, less than the revised 0.8% monthly fall registered in May, the Office for National Statistics said Friday.
Economists polled by The Wall Street Journal expected retail sales to decline 0.4% in June.
Fuel sales fell 4.3% on month due to the record high prices at the pump, the ONS said. Clothing purchases decreased 4.7%, while sales of household goods fell 3.7%, with retailers suggesting that consumers are cutting back on spending due to higher prices and concerns around affordability.
The U.K. economy expanded 0.5% in May compared with the previous month, but economists expect gross domestic product to shrink in the second quarter as a whole as households’ incomes decline due to high inflation and a pare back on spending.
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