UK retail sales fall as consumers continue to rein in spending

| March 26, 2009 | 0 Comments

According to the Office for National Statistics (ONS), UK retail sales continue to fall as consumers continue to cut back on spending amid the recession.

The official figures show that retail sales were far worse than expected by analysts after annual growth slowed to 0.4% in February, which represents the smallest increase for over 13 years.

The figures were hit by the heavy snowfalls throughout the month which kept shoppers away.

On a monthly basis, retail sales fell 1.9% compared with the previous month with textile, clothing and footwear store sales down by 3.7%.

However, while consumers continue to cut back on non-essential items, supermarkets are bucking the trend with supermarket giant, Sainsbury’s, reporting a 6.2% rise in sales for the first three months of 2009 compared with the same period last year. Meanwhile, Morrisons, reported a 7% rise in annual pre-tax profits.

According to the ONS, sales at food stores were 4.9% higher for the three months to February than in the same period last year.

However, home improvement businesses such as Kingfisher, continue to suffer amid the housing market downturn as demand for products has dented sales.

In related news, the British Retail Consortium warned that quarterly rents due this week could drive retailers out of business.

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