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August sees retail sales increase

In August, UK retail sales increased by 1.3 percent on a like-for-like basis from August 2016, according to the BRC.

On a total basis, sales rose 2.4 percent in August, against a decline of 0.3 percent in August 2016, which had been the poorest performance of the year.

This is the strongest growth since Easter, above the 3-month and 12-month averages of 1.9 percent and 1.6 percent respectively.

Helen Dickinson OBE, chief executive, British Retail Consortium said: “August provided a welcome pick-up in retail sales across channels, with non-food returning to growth as shoppers’ attentions turned to homewares, autumn clothing ranges and the new school term.

“However, these figures tell a less positive story about the health of consumer spending than it might seem at first glance. Non-food sales have only just recovered to levels seen two years ago, after a dismal August in 2016; while strong figures for food are largely the result of rising prices, leaving growth in volume terms weaker than last year.

“Stark challenges lurk around the corner for the retail industry. Purchasing decisions are very much dictated by a shrinking pool of discretionary consumer spend, with the amount of money in people’s pockets set to be dented by inflation and statutory rises in employee pension contributions in a few months’ time.

“It’s therefore crucial to protect consumers wherever possible from further cost pressures. For Government, this includes ensuring continued choice and availability of affordable, quality products for shoppers post-Brexit, by securing a strong deal on customs and tariff-free trade with the EU.”


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