ONS figures show surprise rise in UK September sales volumes

The ONS has revealed that UK retail sales volumes rose by 0.6% in September compared to the same time last year, rather than the flat performance forecast. The rise was boosted by sales of video games, thanks to new releases, and laptop purchases in readiness for the new school term.

More telling is the effect of rising inflation as sales values rose 5.4% in September compared with the previous month. The combination of high inflation and a VAT rise that came into effect last year points to little real overall growth.

Online spending amounted to $851.5 million or 9.6% of retail sales, excluding auto fuel, compared with 7.7% of retail sales the previous year.

Meanwhile textile, clothing and footwear sales volume in-store fell 2.1% compared to September 2010, the largest fall since April 2008, compared to a rise of 21% in sales volume for the same products online.

However, analysts believe the cost-of-living pressures mean this lift in sales performance will be short-lived.

“Christmas has always been the most important time for retail but this year is going to be particularly critical as businesses look to make up lost ground,” said Stephen Robinson, Director General of the British Retail Consortium. “Customers can expect to benefit from extremely fierce competition for their spending.”

Oct 21, 2011 | 03:10 am


Kristina Knight is a freelance writer based in Ohio, United States. She began her career in radio and television broadcasting, focusing her energies on health and business reporting. After six years in the industry, Kristina branched out on her own. Since 2001, her articles have appeared in Family Delegate, Credit Union Business, FaithandValues.com and with Threshold Media.