UK retail sales in surprise August fall

Retail sales volumes fell 0.9 per cent in August according to the Office for National Statistics — a surprise for analysts who had expected a rise of around 0.4 per cent.
The ONS said consumers reined in spending, particularly on food, compared with July.
But sales volumes were still 2.1 per cent higher than in August last year, when the Olympics hit spending.
Non-store retailing, which includes online shopping, saw the most growth.
But in-store retailing still dominates the sector. According to the ONS, out of every pound spent in UK retail, 83 pence is spent in food and non-food shops.
The British Broadcasting Corporation reported that the figures are based on a monthly survey of 5,000 UK retailers, including all large retailers who employ 100 people or more.
Retail sales are seen as an indicator of consumer confidence, and therefore the economy as a whole.
The retail sector accounts for around 6 per cent of the UK economy.
The economy grew by 0.7 per cent in the second quarter of the year, according to the latest estimates.
Earlier this month, the OECD, an international organisation, said it now expected the UK to grow by 1.5 per cent this year, up from the 0.8 per cent growth it previously forecast.
But some retailers have expressed concern at the strength of consumer spending.
Food sales fell by 2.7 per cent in August compared with July. Last week supermarket Morrisons said higher levels of spending in London were not reflected in other parts of the country.
David Tinsley, UK economist at BNP Paribas, described the retail sales figures as “one of the weakest prints on the economy for some time.”

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