Grocery sales are slowing – especially alcohol and tobacco


The Office for National Statistics (ONS) found that sales in supermarkets fell by 1.5% in May, with a 2.2% drop in specialist shops such as butchers and bakers.

But the biggest drop in spending was seen for alcohol and tobacco, with sales down 4%.

The data also showed a pullback in spending on household goods and department stores, with sales falling 2.3% and 1.1% respectively.

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Shoppers rained in their shopping

It comes amid growing signs that the cost of living crisis is starting to weigh on the economy.

Consumer confidence this month hit its lowest level since records began in 1974, according to data from market research firm GfK, also released on Friday.

And supermarket giant Asda said earlier this week that some shoppers are asking cashiers to stop scanning items when the till total hits £30 to cut costs.

Inflation has now hit a new 40-year high of 9.1% and there are fears that a sharp drop in consumer spending could tip the UK into recession.

Heather Bovill, Deputy Director of Surveys and Economic Indicators at the ONS, said: ‘Supermarket feedback suggests customers are spending less on their grocery store.

“More workers returning to the office may have helped fuel sales up this month, while shoppers shopping for summer vacation outfits helped boost apparel sales.”

Kantar, another market research company, warned earlier this week that shoppers will see their annual grocery bill soar by £380 to £4,960 in 2022.


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