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UK retail sales fell more than expected in September

Oct 24, 2023 United Kingdom
UK retail sales fell more than expected in September
According to the Office for National Statistics (ONS), UK retail sales saw a bigger-than-expected decline in September, due to unusually warm weather and the pressures of rising living costs
ONS reported a 0.9% drop in retail sales last month, following a 0.4% increase in August. This fall exceeded economists’ expectations, who had forecasted a 0.2% decline in a Reuters poll.

According to Grant Fitzner, ONS' chief economist, “retail sales fell notably in September, with retailers telling us that cost-of-living pressures are influencing consumers, particularly for sales of non-essential goods”, including jewellery and watches, and also furniture and lighting.

In addition, “it was a poor month for clothing stores as the warm autumnal conditions reduced sales of colder weather gear”, with clothing and department stores recording a 1.6% decline in sales in September.

“The joint warmest September on record and a return to school failed to fuel overall growth in retail sales in an unexpected, subdued performance. The late summer heatwave delayed the purchase of autumn and winter goods, with continued uncertainty around high mortgage rates, falling house prices and rising rents”, commented Oliver Vernon-Harcourt, head of retail at Deloitte to FashionUnited.

However, “with the “Golden Quarter” fast approaching, retailers are hopeful that easing inflation we have seen in recent months will boost consumer confidence”, said Helen Dickinson, Chief Executive of the British Retail Consortium.


Image Credits: visitbritain.com

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