UK Shoppers Snap Up Blankets, Warm Clothes for Difficult Winter

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(Bloomberg) — Britons took action to curtail their energy use this winter by buying blankets, warm clothing and energy-efficient appliances in response to soaring gas and electricity prices. 

That’s according to the latest sales survey from the British Retail Consortium, which also found consumers cut back on big-ticket items such as computers, televisions and furniture last month. 

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The overall value of sales rose 2.2% from a year earlier, but that was due to a sharp increase in the price of goods, the BRC said in a report Tuesday. The volume of sales continued to fall as households already struggling with near double-digit inflation braced for a 27% increase the energy-price cap on Oct. 1. 

Helen Dickinson, chief executive of the BRC, said rising costs and wages are making it hard for retailers to reduce prices for embattled households.

“A difficult winter looms for both retailers and consumers,” Dickinson warned. “Costs are increasing throughout retailers’ supply chain, the pound remains weak, interest rates are rising, and a tight labor market is pushing up the cost of hiring.”

The cost of living crisis was also on display in a separate survey from Barclaycard, which showed spending rose at the slowest pace since the start of last year. 

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