A sharp fall in demand for groceries, as pubs and restaurants reopened to indoor customers, has driven a decline in retail sales volumes.
The Office for National Statistics charted a surprise 1.4% decline in retail sales between April and May.
Economists had predicted growth of 1.6% on the back of a 9% surge the previous month following an easing of COVID-19 restrictions that released pent-up demand for goods on the high street.
The fall in grocery volumes was backed up by separate figures from Tesco – the UK’s largest supermarket chain – which noted a decline in sales for meals at home during April and May in its first quarter results.
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