UK retail sales received a boost of 0.6% in September, beating market expectations of 0.4%, as shoppers ventured out to buy winter clothing and school uniforms, after the debacle during Olympics, according to a new report.
Families had pushed back the purchase of school uniforms into September as Britons suffered the worst squeeze in income for over 30 years. The report said clothing and footwear sales rose 2.0% on the month.
The sales decrease in August had been blamed on people putting off shopping to watch the Olympics. When compared with the figures of the same month last year, the year-on-year figures show sales up 2.5%.
Official figures show that prices in the shops rose by 1.3% in September from August, with the cost of textiles, clothing and footwear increasing. In the months between July and September, retail sales were 1% higher than in the previous three months, the strongest quarterly rise since the second quarter of 2010.
In the past 12 months, the UK retail sales were affected by the store closures of JJB Sports, Peacocks, Blacks Leisure, Clinton Cards and Game Group, which fell into administration. Toy shops, clothes shops, jewellers, card and poster shops, and furniture stores were adversely affected. Meanwhile, outlets bucking the trend included discount stores, convenience stores, coffee shops, bookmakers and charity shops.
Retail sales excluding fuel also increased 0.6% on the month and were 2.9% higher than in September 2011, also beating economists’ forecasts. A drop in inflation to a near three-year low at 2.2% in September has raised hopes that the squeeze is easing and rising employment may also help Britons gain confidence to spend more.