ONS: UK retail sales up 0.6% in September

| October 20, 2011
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The Office for National Statistics (ONS) has today revealed UK retail sales beat forecasts in September, led by spending on electrical goods such as laptop computers.

According to the Statistics Office, sales rose by 0.6% last month, reversing the 0.4% fall in August.

Furthermore, the figure was 0.6% higher on an annual basis.

Retail sales have been struggling over recent times as households continue to be squeezed by higher inflation, rising unemployment and sluggish wage growth.

As a result, conditions are expected to remain challenging for retailers in the medium term.

Last week, the ONS revealed UK unemployment rose to a 17-year high in the three months to August, while earlier this week, it revealed that inflation surged to 5.2% in September, from 4.5% in August.

These pressures are making consumers cautious about spending, according to analysts.

In order to stimulate the economy and aid the recovery, the Bank of England last week announced it would embark on a fresh round of quantitative easing (QE).

There have been fears that the UK could enter a double-dip recession after a recent series of bad news from the economy and the ongoing debt crisis in the euro zone and the majority of economists expected the central bank to introduce a further round of QE.

However, while the Bank hopes the QE scheme will revive the sluggish economy, leading think tank, the Ernst & Young Item Club, warned earlier this week that the QE measures are unlikely to boost the recovery.

Its comments came just a week after the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) said the fresh round of QE may not be enough to prevent the economy from slipping back into recession and “more radical measures” are required.

In other news today, UK consumer confidence rose for the first time in four months in September, according to GfK NOP research company.

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