Latest statistics suggest the UK consumer spending boom is coming to an end, with retailers' sales volumes falling for the second consecutive month.

According to the Office for National Statistics, retailers' volumes fell by 0.7 per cent last month, after a 0.5 per cent drop in May - the first back-to-back fall since 1998 - despite a 2 per cent fall in prices.

The most recent sales figures from the British Retail Consortium also showed that the growth rate was almost cut in half in June.

Some retailers are blaming poor June sales on the World Cup and the jubilee weekend. However, it is more likely that sharp falls in equities are undermining consumers' willingness to spend - particularly if house price growth starts to slow, as most experts predict. So no amount of price-slashing and margin squeezing can combat teetering confidence in pensions and jobs.

The British Retail Consortium, which represents all the major high street traders, wants the Government to intervene to head off a full-scale panic by reassuring people that the current stock market situation is an aberration.