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Sales slip in September

Published: 25 October 2010
ONS reports 0.2% drop in sales volumes on previous month, despite positive growth seen in household goods categories and non-specialised stores.
Sales slip in September
Sales in September were 0.2% lower than in August, led by falls in textile, clothing and footwear categories, down 0.8%, and automotive fuel. The fall comes despite analysts' predictions of a rise in September and follows a decline of 0.7% recorded in August.

Household goods stores fared better, however, reporting a 0.2% increase for the month, along with non-specialised stores. Also within the non-food stores category, other stores saw a 0.7% sales increase, while non-store retailing saw a 0.5% drop.

British Chambers of Commerce chief economist David Kern commented on the results: "Retail sales fell for the second month in a row, despite hopes that there would be a small increase. These figures support our assessment that there will be a significant slowdown in the rate of growth in the third quarter of the year, although GDP will still remain positive."

Year-on-year figures were more encouraging, with the value of retail sales up 0.5% in September, compared with 2009, and predominantly non-food stores 3.8% higher than the same month last year. The largest rise was in non-specialised stores, which increased 8.4%, while textile, clothing and footwear stores rose by 4.8%. Other stores increased their sales by 4.6%, while household goods saw a 2% decline over the period.

It was a similar story with sales value, which saw a 2.4% increase last month, compared with the same period in 2009. Non-food stores were up 4%, with non-specialised stores ahead by 7.6% and household goods reporting a 2.3% drop.

Mr Kern added: "There is no need for undue pessimism, since longer-term comparisons still show positive growth in retail sales. However, it is important to take steps to reduce risks of a setback in the early months of 2011, when VAT goes up and the spending cuts start to bite.

"Business and consumers are facing serious pressures, which are likely to worsen in the months ahead."


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