UK retail sales show surprise fall in October


ikGjyve7957oBritish retail sales unexpectedly fell in October, hit in part by mild weather that caused shoppers to put off buying winter clothes, official data showed on Thursday.

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Retail sales volumes shrank 0.7 per cent on the month to show 1.8 per cent growth on the year, the Office for National Statistics said.

Economists had expected sales to be flat on the month and to be 3.1 per cent higher on the year.

Consumer spending has grown for much of 2013 despite inflation outstripping wage growth.

Data earlier this week showed inflation fell to 2.2 per cent in October, while earnings were up 0.7 per cent in the three months to September.

Helping boost spending has been a combination of rising house prices, record low mortgage rates and a gathering economic recovery which has boosted jobs growth.

The chief executive of one of Britain’s supermarket chains, Sainsbury’s, cautioned on Wednesday that any recovery in Britain’s economy might take time to take effect, given the strain on household budgets.

Consumers also face higher energy costs in the months ahead after several utilities announced double-digit hikes in power tariffs.

Wednesday’s data showed food sale volumes down 0.1 per cent in October from September, while fuel sales were down 2.1 per cent.

The automotive fuel sector saw its biggest annual fall in the price of goods sold since September 2009 as petrol prices weakened.

Clothing sales fell 2.8 per cent on the month, probably reflecting the mild weather, ONS officials said.

Hot weather spurred heavy spending in July before shoppers tightened their purse-strings in August and then resumed spending in September.

The retail sector accounts for about five per cent of the British economy.

Last week, the British Retail Consortium, which represents mostly large retailers, said sales picked up a touch in October, but mild weather meant clothing sales were weak. (Reuters/NAN)

Babatunde Akinsola
Babatunde Akinsola
Babatunde Akinsola is aNaija247news' Southwest editor. He's based in Lagos and writes on the Yoruba Nation political issues, news and investigative reports

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