UK retail sales flat in September

| October 22, 2009 | 0 Comments

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) has today revealed that UK retail sales in September were unchanged from August.

Analysts had expected an increase but it was the second consecutive month that retail sales were flat.

It was hoped that shoppers would rush to the High Street in the build-up to the Christmas period but the figures indicate that consumers are still reluctant to spend and raise concerns over the strength of any economic recovery.

The data is released just a day before the ONS is to reveal whether or not the UK economy grew in the July to September period. If not, it will be the first time the UK has endured six consecutive quarters without growth.

Meanwhile, despite the flat sales during the month, retail sales were still 2.4% above the level reported a year ago - but this was still below analysts expectations of 2.8%.

This time last year, consumers were reining in their spending following the collapse of US banking giant Lehman Brothers.

Commenting on today’s retail sales figures, Vicky Redwood, UK economist at Capital Economics, said: “September’s official UK retail sales figures are surprisingly weak given the strong rise in the timelier CBI and British Retail Consortium (BRC) surveys.”

The CBI’s distributive trades survey said that High Street activity had grown to its highest for five months in September, while the BRC said September had seen the “best total sales growth figures since January 2008″.

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