U.K. retail sales in September rose 1.9% year over year as price inflation filtered through to consumers, the British Retail Consortium said Oct. 10.
"Retailers have worked hard to keep a lid on price rises following the depreciation of the pound, but with a potent mix of more expensive imports and increasing business costs from various government policies, something had to give at some point," BRC CEO Helen Dickinson said in a statement.
Inflation has escalated in the U.K. following a sharp drop in the value of the British pound against most major currencies after the country voted in a June 2016 referendum to leave the European Union. The rate of inflation, measured by the consumer prices index, was 2.9% in August, according to data from the Office for National Statistics. A weaker local currency makes imports more expensive.
In the three months to September, food sales increased 2.5% on a like-for-like basis, while in-store sales of nonfood items fell 2%, the BRC said.
Shoppers focused on essential purchases and shied away from big-ticket items such as furniture and also delayed the renewal of household electrical goods, Dickinson noted.
Online sales of nonfood items climbed 10.7% year over year in September as consumers responded to discounts and retailers improved the mobile shopping experience.