Price rises across the breadth of the retail sector have led to the first quarterly decline in retail sales since 2013, according to the latest government statistics.
Retail sales fell 1.4% for the three months to March compared to the fourth quarter of 2016, Office for National Statistics (ONS) figures showed.
Average store prices including fuel jumped by 3.3% year-on-year, representing the biggest surge in prices since March 2012.
The majority of the increase was driven by petrol stations following a year-on-year average price rise of 16.4%.
ONS statistician Kate Davies said: “Today’s retail sales figures show a decline on the month and on the three months to March.
“This is the first time we’ve seen a quarterly decline since 2013, and it seems to be a consequence of price increases across a whole range of sectors.”
Last month online sales exploded by 19.5% year-on-year and edged up by 0.5% month-on-month. Online now accounts for approximately 15.5% of all retail spend.
In March retail volumes are estimated to have increased by 1.7% year-on-year, but declined 1.8% month-on-month.