UK retail sales climb in August

ONS retail sales

UK retail sales grew in August as shoppers continued to spend despite price rises brought on by the post-Brexit vote slump in the sterling.

According to the Office for National Statistics (ONS), sales edged up 2.4 per cent year-on-year, the 52nd consecutive month of year-on-year increases.

It was also above the predicted 1.1 per cent rise, as consumers seemingly ignored the pound’s post-referendum slump and inflation.

Compared to the previous month, sales rose one per cent – also above predictions of a much smaller month-on-month growth of 0.2 per cent.

The ONS said increased spending in non-food shopping trips such as department stores and DIY outlets was what drove the improved figures.

Meanwhile, figures for the three months to August as a whole show a 1.2 per cent rise in sales growth from the same measurement of 0.7 per cent in July.

The ONS’s figures  came as retailers continued to increase prices across their stores, with non-food stores and non-store retailing recording the highest year-on-year price growth since March 1992, at 3.2 per cent and 3.3 per cent respectively.

“Within this month’s retail sales we are seeing strong price increases across all store types compared with a year ago, reflecting wider inflationary pressures,” ONS senior statistician Kate Davies said.

“However, we are still seeing underlying growth in sales volumes, and with strong growth in non-essential purchases as consumers continued to buy more from non-food stores.”

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