UK

UK retail sales recover in August with more spent on clothing

Sales in the UK’s retail sector returned to growth last month (James Manning/PA)
Sales in the UK’s retail sector returned to growth last month (James Manning/PA) Sales in the UK’s retail sector returned to growth last month (James Manning/PA)

Sales in the UK’s retail sector returned to growth last month as supermarkets, clothing and homeware stores reported stronger trading after wet weather dampened July spending.

Retail sales volumes grew 0.4 per cent in August, up from a revised fall of 1.1 per cent in July, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

It comes in slightly below expectations after economists had predicted a 0.5 per cent rise for August, according to a consensus from Pantheon Macroeconomics.

Clothing stores reported a rebound in spending last month with sales up by 2.3 per cent

However, fuel sales acted as a drag on the overall figure, with volumes falling by 1.2% and retailers suggesting the sharp increase in petrol and diesel prices during the month reduced spending.

Pump price of unleaded petrol (per litre)
Pump price of unleaded petrol (per litre) (PA Graphics)

Senior ONS statistician Heather Bovill said: “Retail recovered a little from the large fall seen in July, driven by a partial bounce back in food and a strong month for clothing, though sales overall remain subdued.

“These were partially offset by internet sales, which dropped slightly as some people returned to shopping in person following a very wet July.

“Fuel sales also fell, with increased prices hitting demand.”