UK retail sales unexpectedly dropped again last month, adding to concerns about economic recovery even though sales volumes remain well above pre-pandemic levels.
Source: Office for National Statistics.
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Sales have declined steadily since a peak in April shortly after COVID-19 restrictions were removed on shops.
August’s 0.9% drop seemed to reveal a switch in spending away from supermarkets in favor of restaurants, where restrictions ended more recently.
Shops also recorded supply chain difficulties, and the drop in sales adds to signs Britain’s recovery is stumbling after a wave of cases of the coronavirus Delta variant in July.
UK sales volumes are still 4.6% higher than their level in February 2020, before they were first hit by the COVID-19 pandemic, but remained the same from their level in August 2020.
Many British retailers have struggled to keep their shelves fully stocked due to supply chain constraints, attributable to a combination of global shortages and lack of truck drivers in Britain.