The UK Office for National Statistics (ONS) has published a report revealing that half of the Britons it surveyed had bought less food over the past two weeks due to soaring prices.
According to the report, released on Friday, the price of food was also the most common reason for why the survey respondents were seeing their monthly expenses surging overall.
The agency said that 46% of the surveyed adults saw the cost of shopping grow above usual over the past two weeks, representing a sharp jump in the cost of living after only 18% of shoppers reported increased spending when asked in October last year.
The data revealed that 91% of Britons have seen a rise in the overall cost of living over the period to June 19, as food, energy and fuel all placed heavy burdens on shoppers.
Retail sales volumes across the country reportedly dropped 0.5% in May from April, driven by a slump in food sales, which declined 1.6%. Asda and Tesco, the UK’s largest supermarket chains, have confirmed that customers are cutting back on shopping.
Sales at food retail chains declined by 1.5%, while sales of tobacco, alcohol and other drinks decreased by 4%. Non-food store sales were unchanged, with a 2.2% increase in clothing sales offset by a 2.3% decline in household goods.
“Over the coming months, we can expect to see more weakness spread throughout the sector,” Sarah Coles, senior personal finance analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown, told Yahoo Finance.
“It’s not just the rising bills of today that are worrying us, it’s the prospect of even higher bills tomorrow, and fears of a looming recession, which might cause our finances to unravel entirely,” she explained.
The ONS revised down sales growth in April, from the previous estimate of 1.4% to an increase of 0.4%. The figures also revealed that fuel sales surged 1.1% in May, which was likely driven by an increase in workers returning to their workplaces.
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