Buying new is so last season! Cash-strapped Britons are increasingly turning to second-hand stores and auction houses to make savings

Cash strapped Britons are increasingly turning to second hand stores and auction houses to make savings, according to official figures.

Retail sales data found the one sector of retailing that is showing signs of major growth are businesses specialising in ‘pre-owned’ merchandise.

Total sales through a category of retailers identified as ‘other non-food stores’ by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) were up by 3.6 per cent in October compared to September.

It said this was ‘because of strong growth in second-hand goods stores – particularly auctioning houses’.

The figures suggest that many Britons are dressing their homes – and their families – by buying other people’s cast offs.

Similarly, it would suggest that many households are digging through their homes and wardrobes looking for items they can sell off to make ends meet.

Lead Equity Analyst at investment experts Hargreaves Lansdown, Sophie Lund-Yates, said: ‘In these uncertain times when people’s pay packets aren’t stretching as far as usual, it seems consumers are looking for alternative ways to get their hands on what they want.

‘This trend does point out just how tough things have become though – switching to second hand on this scale is no small shift in behaviour.’

The ONS figures demonstrate that roaring inflation means households are spending more each month, but getting less.

Lisa Hooker, Industry Leader for Consumer Markets at PwC, said: ‘Worryingly, on an annual basis, the 2.9 per cent increase in overall retail sales excluding petrol was accounted for by the record inflation that was reported earlier this week. On a volume basis, shoppers were actually buying 6.7 per cent less than last October.

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