Retail sales fell 1.4% in the first three months of 2017, new figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) have revealed, while average store prices increased significantly by 3.3% - the largest growth since March 2012.
The drop in sales marked the third consecutive decrease for the underlying “three month on three month pattern”, according to the ONS, which said on a month-to-month basis, sales dropped 1.8% - well below the 0.2% expectation.
No single sector drove the decrease in overall retails sales, said the ONS.
“This is the first time we’ve seen a quarterly decline since 2013, and it seems to be a consequence of price increases across a whole range of sectors,” said ONS senior statistician, Kate Davies, adding decreases in quantity bought were seen across all retail sectors except textile, clothing and footwear stores where volume sales were up 1.9%.
The largest decreases were seen in household goods stores and fuel stores at 3.3% and 3.1% respectively.”
Inflation remained steady at 2.3% in March, with increasing food and clothing prices balanced out by a price drop in flights and fuel, according to separate ONS figures.