Data for the four weeks to 27 November revealed sales were down 2.2% against November 2020, when they had increased by 4.8%. November sales were below the three month average decline of 0.8%. This average was also below the UK figure of 0.1%.
Non-food sales enjoyed a lift in the same period, increasing by 6.7% on the previous year, when they were down 22.8% – suggesting there is a long way to go before the sector hits pre-pandemic performance.
Ewan MacDonald-Russell, head of policy at the SRC, commented on the figures.
“Food sales remain a bright spot with growth on pre-pandemic sales, albeit much of that growth will be the result of higher food prices as supply chain pressures start to feed through.
“Retailers are trading in intensely difficult conditions with consumers facing rising costs and an uptick in uncertainty with the rise in Covid cases.”
KPMG UK head of retail Paul Martin said: “As we look ahead to the new year, rising costs continue to bite into margins.”