UK Retail Sales Fall More Than Forecast In September

The unemployment figure for the West Midlands fell by 17,000 in the three months to August

The unemployment figure for the West Midlands fell by 17,000 in the three months to August

The pound has dropped against the dollar and the euro after official data showed United Kingdom retail sales growth in September was at its slowest level for four years, as price growth jumped again.

The UK National Statistics Institute announced this morning that inflation has been shot in September to 3%, its maximum in last five and a half years, a situation that could force government to increase rates of Interest to wear situation. The BOE and most economists expect economic growth of around 0.3 percent.

The decline was driven largely by a fall in sales of non-essential items, such as spectacles, souvenirs, weapons and collectables.

Growth for the third quarter of the year slowed to a year-on-year rate of 1.5 per cent, its lowest since the second quarter of 2013 and well below the 2.1 per cent pencilled in by city forecasters.

"This surge in inflation - which mainly reflects the fall in sterling since the EU Referendum vote - is squeezing consumers and holding back the growth of retail spending in volume terms".

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Annual shop price inflation rose to 3.3% in September, up from 3.1% in August and 2.7% in July to the highest level since March 2012. Issues around consumer finances, spending power and rising cost pressures are already challenging the industry: "an interest rate rise could cause an additional headache for retailers in the lead up to Christmas".

Compared to past year, sales were up only 1.2%, nearly half the expected 2.1% and down from a revised 2.3% for the previous month.

Non-food sales volumes were the main culprit for September's fall, showing a 0.6% month on month fall. "On top of that the Bank could well find its credibility compromised if it fails to follow through on its recent hawkish commentary, and would once again be on the hook for providing "forward misguidance".

"As demand softens in much of the industry, retailers will have to make hard decisions about the extent to which they are able to discount in the run up to Christmas to encourage consumers to part with their cash". The expected growth rate was 2.2 percent. Consumers may also be anxious by indications that the BoE may well raise interest rates as soon as November. "Meanwhile, lenders are becoming more reluctant to provide unsecured credit to consumers".

"Today's figures highlight an awkward reality for the Bank of England, with reasons to both hike and hold". Once inflation is taken into...

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