Retail sales return to growth
Thursday 21 July 2011
Retail sales returned to growth last month after stores started their summer sales early to attract cautious consumers, official figures revealed today.
Volumes rose 0.7% month-on-month in June, the Office for National Statistics said, although this only partly offset a 1.3% decline the previous month.
The moderate improvement in sales came as retailers such as Marks & Spencer and other clothes chains started their summer sales early, while home furnishing stores also put on big discounts.
The discounting helped household goods stores to increase their volumes by 2.6% compared to the previous month, while clothes sales were up 0.6%.
Food retailers, including supermarkets, saw their volumes decline by 4.2% on the previous year, the largest fall since records began in 1988.
And there was more bad news on inflation as the ONS indicated that food prices were up 5.8% year-on-year - the highest since March 2009.
The figures also revealed that non-store sales, including the internet, hit record highs, underlining the squeeze on the high street, which has been under great pressure in recent months as consumers, whose wages are failing to keep pace with soaring inflation, rein in spending in the face of fears over unemployment and the faltering economic recovery.
The early discounting comes after retailers such as department store chain TJ Hughes and fashion specialist Jane Norman recently fell into administration as sales fell, while Mothercare, entertainment group HMV and chocolatier Thorntons have all announced store closures.
A recent report by Ernst & Young showed that retailers have issued 26 profit warnings in the first half of 2011 - more than the whole of the previous year.
And economists have warned that July's sales are likely to be weaker because some of the summer sales that would normally have taken place during the month have already taken place in June.
Labour's shadow chief secretary to the Treasury Angela Eagle said: "These figures confirm the disappointing news from the high street we have seen in recent months. As the ONS has said, the underlying picture is flat with a very modest year-on-year increase of just 0.4%.
"We need urgent action to boost jobs and consumer confidence and get our economy moving again.
"Temporarily reversing January's mistaken VAT rise would ease the growing squeeze on families and pensioners, give this stalled economy the jump-start it urgently needs, and so help get the deficit down for the long term."
- 1 Five-year-old Iris Grace is raising awareness of autism through her extraordinary paintings
- 2 Car tax disc changes: Two days to go - and they affect you much more than just not displaying a piece of paper
- 3 The Simpsons death: Creator Al Jean would 'kill himself' before character like Homer or Lisa
- 4 British man raped while urinating in bushes at Oktoberfest beer festival in Germany
- 5 A teacher speaks out: 'I'm effectively being forced out of a career that I wanted to love'
Five-year-old Iris Grace is raising awareness of autism through her extraordinary paintings
Car tax disc changes: Two days to go - and they affect you much more than just not displaying a piece of paper
Isis an hour away from Baghdad - with no sign of Iraq army being able to make a successful counter-attack
British man raped while urinating in bushes at Oktoberfest beer festival in Germany
George Clooney and Amal Alamuddin wedding: The famous congratulate actor and human rights lawyer after Venice nuptials
Isis, we are told, is a 'clear and dangerous threat to our way of life'. I’m sorry, but I just don’t buy it
Exclusive: 'Putin's Russia has been my biggest regret,' says Nato's outgoing Secretary General
'Women, walk wherever you want' posters taken down in Stamford Hill following 'unacceptable' signs separating men and women
There’s no excuse for Dave Lee Travis’s behaviour, but we need to keep a sense of proportion
Mark Reckless becomes second Tory MP to defect to Ukip in a month
Should gay sex be illegal? 16% of Britons think so
- < Previous
- Next >
iJobs Money & Business
NEGOTIABLE: Austen Lloyd: TRUST ACCOUNTANT - KENTIf you are a Chartered Accou...
£18000 - £20000 per annum + OTE £30000: SThree: SThree are a global FTSE 250 b...
Highly Competitive Salary: Austen Lloyd: CITY - Law Costs Draftsperson - NICHE...
£300 - £330 per day: Ashdown Group: SQL Developer (Stored Procedures) Watford...