Growth in food sales slumps as credit crunch bites

Food sales growth during October was at its lowest for seven months, according to latest retail sales figures from the British Retail Consortium.

Low consumer confidence and the impact of the credit crunch had forced shoppers to change their shopping habits, with consumers becoming increasingly price-conscious.

Cheaper cuts of meat saw an increase in sales, while the cold and wet weather helped sales of soups and root vegetables, the BRC said.

Despite the slow-down, food was the only sector to show any growth in a month that saw retail sales fall to their lowest level for three years.

Food think tank IGD said food sales had slowed as food inflation began to decline.

Joanne Denney-Finch, IGD chief executive, said retailers had been adjusting to a new economic climate by focusing on value.

“Consumers have been adapting by putting more effort into their grocery shopping – seeking out promotions, cooking from scratch and searching out the best deals,” she said.

“With the surge in interest in the provenance and ethics of food which has occurred since the last major downturn, it seems that shoppers are scrutinising value but they are not compromising their values.”

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