New ONS retail data shows that volume sales for “predominantly food” stores have declined steadily over the 12 months ending May 2022.
This may be partly due to the loss of the volume gained by retail during the COVID-19 pandemic, when eating out businesses were mostly closed. With most eating out businesses now open, this is to be expected.
However, there is no sign that volume loss from food retail is slowing, even though eating out performance has slowed - retail volumes are now slightly below the pre-COVID level.
It is likely that some other factor is also at work – inflation has strengthened rapidly in recent months and it is likely that this is causing shoppers to manage purchasing carefully, even in non-discretionary areas like food.
This ONS data is supported by information that IGD has received from other sources – for example, the most recent data from Kantar Worldpanel also suggests that food retail in the UK has contracted since last year.
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