Sales slump hits the high street, consumers are buying less

Clothes shops have been hard hit. Photo:

The retail sector booked a 4% increase in sales in the third quarter of this year, but that was due to higher prices as consumers bought fewer goods.

More shops also went bust in the third quarter, national statistics agency CBS said on Friday.

It was the sixth quarter in a row that shoppers had bought less in both the highstreet and online.

Food sector sales rose almost 7% compared with the year-earlier period with both specialist stores and supermarkets benefiting from increased turnover. But consumers bought some 3% fewer goods in supermarkets, while specialist shops, such as greengrocers and bakeries, booked 4% lower sales in volume terms.

In the non-food sector, sales rose 1% year-on-year, but clothes and shoe shops in particular sold 8% and 7% fewer products.

Sales also rose in the online retail sector but only by 1.4%.

In total, 75 shops went bust between July and September, a rise of 60% on the same period in 2022. That figure includes the high street retail groups Big Bazar and BCC, both of which went bust in September.

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