The latest figures from the ONS show that retail sales fell in March by 1.4% and February figures were revised downwards, suggesting that people are already reacting to the squeeze on household budgets.
Fuel sales were also down, presumably because people are reducing car use which, given the cost of fuel, is not surprising. Nor is it surprising that spending on non-essential items and online shopping fell, but it is worrying that food sales were down for the fifth month in a row, meaning we are either all on diets, or people are choosing to spend on energy over food.
This much publicised squeeze on household budgets has only really hit this month so these numbers are a disturbing reflection on what the public are already having to do to make ends meet and we fear there is a lot worse to come – particularly in respect of holiday travel and hospitality trading activity.
As we have said before, any business that is struggling as a result of this downturn needs to act decisively and seek independent professional advice and that is why we are always available for an initial zero cost assessment which can be arranged by contacting Alistair Dickson.