Warm September Cools Retail Sales

Posted by Tom Magor in Personal Finance on 25 October 2016 - Tom is a Senior Credit Analyst at checkmyfile.

In the wake of a relatively warm September, the level of consumer spending reduced in September compared to August sales. Weaker sales figures were observed across the economy as a whole with markets including food, footwear and clothing suffering. Despite this, figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) revealed that prices increased by 0.1% compared to the previous month.

With inflation rising to 1% in September and rates of pay growth slowing compounded by the falling strength of the pound, analysts have warned that future sales figures are also likely to be negatively impacted.

Keith Richardson of Lloyds Bank says, “Britain’s erratic weather has really taken its toll on retailers this year, and a warm September was the last thing that the high street needed. Deflationary pressures in food and fashion also contributed to a flat spend during the month as a whole.”

Despite a disappointing September, when considering the quarter leading up to September as a whole, retail sales volumes increased by 1.8% when compared to the corresponding period in 2015. This also represented an improvement from a 1.1% increase in the quarter leading up to June 2016 and also signified the fastest rate of growth since the final quarter of 2014.

Looking forward, Richard Lim of Retail Economics says, “Darker clouds are forming on the horizon. As inflation accelerates more rapidly next year and the impact of a fragile jobs market transpires to weaker wage growth, disposable incomes will come under pressure. On the whole, consumers react to their personal experience of the economy in terms of their job security, rising prices in the shops and what happens to their wages. As of yet, not much has happened to affect spending power and so, judging by this latest data, their appetite to spend could be faltering."

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