Surprise rise in shop sales
Thursday 21 August 2008
Retail sales staged a surprise revival last month, official figures showed today.
Sales volumes in July were 0.8 per cent higher than the previous month, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said. The fall was in stark contrast to a 0.2 per cent fall expected by the City, and the record 3.9 per cent fall reported in June.
The biggest contribution to July's rise was a 2.8 per cent rise for "other stores", which includes sales of computer games and mobile phones. Clothing and shoe shops also saw a 1.5 per cent improvement compared to previous month.
Food sales were 0.3 per cent ahead in July compared to June. The ONS said there was evidence of growth in the discount food sector - which includes chains such as Aldi and Lidl. This is consistent with recent supermarket industry data which showed the discount sector enjoying its highest market share on record.
Household good shops - which includes furniture and electricals - also rose 1.6 per cent.
Sales for non-store retailing and repair, including internet and mail order, were 0.1 per cent down.
The only other sector showing a decrease was non-specialised stores - mainly department stores - which saw sales volumes fall 2.6 per cent last month.
Compared to July last year, retail sales volumes were 2.1 per cent ahead, the ONS said. The average weekly value of sales in July was £5.2 billion, 3.8 per cent higher than last year.
The rise also contrasts with data from the British Retail Consortium for July, which showed a 0.9 per cent drop on a like-for-like basis compared with a year ago.
The ONS's 3.9 per cent sales fall reported for June, which was the biggest drop since records began in January 1986, has actually been revised downward further to a 4.3 per cent dive, the organisation said.
The slump was consistent with a widespread consumer slowdown as households wrestle with soaring food and energy prices.
July's unexpected rise will add to the uncertainty regarding the Bank of England's next interest rate movement.
Rate-setters are battling with runaway inflation, which reached 4.4 per cent in July, as well as a slowing economy.
For the three months ending July, ONS data showed retail sales volumes were 0.8 per cent better compared to the previous three months. The main driver was from clothing and footwear shops, which saw sales rise 3.1 per cent.
July's price deflator, which measures whether prices are moving up or down, was 1.6 per cent higher than a year ago. This was last as high in July 1998.
The main driver was food inflation, which was 6.1 per cent in July, the highest reading since March 1992.
- 2 Tom Cruise: Reporters banned from asking actor about Scientology
- 4 Dutch King Willem-Alexander declares the end of the welfare state
- 5 Giant Minion terrorises drivers in Ireland as 40ft inflatable blocks traffic on Dublin road
Edward Heath 'raped 12 year-old boy at Mayfair flat'
Sabrina Corgatelli: US hunting tourist posts picture of herself with dead giraffe after Cecil the lion outrage
'Gene drive': Scientists sound alarm over supercharged GM organisms which could spread in the wild and cause environmental disasters
Labour leadership race: Jeremy Corbyn could be the next Prime Minister, says Ken Clarke
Tom Cruise: Reporters banned from asking actor about Scientology
Is Britain really full up? Are migrants taking our jobs? Leading academic answers the most common anti-immigration claims
Calais Migrant Crisis: Deputy Mayor of Calais labels Cameron's use of 'swarm' as 'racist' and 'ignorant'
Chris Leslie: Jeremy Corbyn's anti-austerity agenda will harm the poor, says Labour shadow Chancellor
Landlords renting properties to illegal immigrants to face up to five years in prison
While we fixate on Calais, the Home Office is quietly deporting dozens of migrants on 'ghost flights'
Calais crisis: The seven claims made about the migrants - and the reality
iJobs Money & Business
£35000 - £37000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Contracts Executive - Cit...
£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £45K: SThree: SThree Group have been well esta...
£21000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity to join ...
Up to 70k DOE: Guru Careers: We are seeking an experienced Financial Director ...