Halloween shoppers boost the High Street in October

”Halloween

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) has today revealed a rise in UK retail sales for the month of October.

Retail sales for the month were up 0.4% compared with September and rose by 3.4% compared with October 2008.

Sales were driven by clothing and footwear, partially due to Halloween and half-term shopping, which contributed to a 10.7% rise in sales at clothing and footwear stores - the biggest year-on-year rise since May 2008.

Furthermore, early Christmas shoppers were looking for bargains during the month.

Commenting on today’s figures, Jonathan Loynes, chief European economist at Capital Economics, said: “The figures confirm that High Street spending is still holding up reasonably strongly in the face of some pretty adverse conditions for consumers.”

It is hoped that retail sales will continue to rise over the next couple of months as consumers take advantage of the reduced 15% rate of VAT - which is set to rise again in January 2010.

The news comes on the same day that the ONS also revealed that public finances deteriorated more sharply than expected in October.

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