UK retail sales growth slows in August

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Retail sales volumes decreased by 0.5% between July and August, according to the Office of National Statistics (ONS).

Food stores decreased by 0.5% while non-food stores decreased by 0.7%. Within non-food stores there were decreases across all sectors apart from non-specialised stores, which increased by 0.9 %. The largest decrease was other stores at 2.1%. Non-store retailing increased by 2.1%.

Year-on-year, the volume of retail sales in August was 0.4% higher than in August 2009. Food stores decreased by 3.5% while non-food stores increased by 4.6%. Within non-food stores there were rises across all sectors apart from household goods stores, which fell by 1.5%.

The largest rise was non-specialised stores at 10.8%. This was the largest rise for non-specialised stores since February 2000 when it was 11.4%. Non-store retailing increased by 16.6%.

Commenting on the figures, Lindsey Cooper, partner at Baker Tilly Restructuring and Recovery LLP said: “It is telling to see a 0.5% fall in the volume of retail sales in August from the July figures. It is evident that some retailers are currently struggling and cannot depend on increased volumes from heavy discounting to increase their overall profitability. This would seem to support recent research from the Local Data Company that one in seven retail outlets are currently empty.

“Retailers on the high street will also be concerned by the rising value of non-store retailing, up 2.1.% in the same period, as well as the impact of the VAT increase due to come into effect early next year.”