Summer spending spree on the high street as retail sales rise

Summer spending spree on the high street as retail sales rise again in warm weather – but experts warn about soaring petrol prices

  • Retail sales were up 0.3 per cent in August compared to July, new ONS data says
  • The amount spent on the high street was 5.6 per cent higher than a year earlier 
  • Over the warm summer food and household goods stores did well, figures show 

A summer spending spree continued in August, retail sales have shown, but experts warned about the impact of soaring petrol prices today.

Sales were up by 0.3 per cent in August compared to July while the amount spent was 5.6 per cent higher than a year earlier.

The Office for National Statistics said the warm summer weather had boosted food and household good shops across the summer.

But the figures for August offered a mixed picture overall as food and clothing sales fell in the final part of the summer. 

Retail sale were up by 0.3 per cent in August compared to July while the amount spent was 5.6 per cent higher than a year earlier (pictured is the year on year change in both cash spent and amount bought in the shops) 

Despite the financial woes effecting big high street names like House of Fraser, spending in department stores also reached a record proportion at 18.4 per cent

Spending online continued to increase to reach a new record proportion of all retailing at 18.2 per cent.

Despite the financial woes effecting big high street names, spending in department stores also reached a record proportion at 18.4 per cent.

ONS senior statistician Rhian Murphy said: ‘Retail sales remained strong in the three months to August, with continued growth across all sectors.


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‘Food and household goods stores particularly benefited from the warm weather when compared with last summer.

‘The figures for the month of August were a little more mixed, with food sales falling after strong sales earlier in the summer, and clothing sales declining following a strong July, as suggested by clothing retailers. On the other hand, household goods grew strongly.’

But the figures for August offered a mixed picture overall as food and clothing sales fell in the final part of the summer (pictured are changes to money spent and amount bought from July to August in major sectors) 

Tom Stevenson, investment director at Fidelity International, said: ‘The headline level of retail sales data was unexpectedly strong for August, although buoyant household goods volumes were offset by declines in food, clothing and petrol.

‘Food and clothing retreated after benefiting from the unusually warm weather in July. The rising cost of fuel is also starting to bite. So this is a mixed bag, which paints an unconvincing picture of recovery on the UK’s struggling high streets.

‘To add to the cocktail of concerns for the British high street, yesterday’s inflation data showed that price rises are once again outstripping our pay packets.

‘The continued pressure on households’ disposable income means we are likely to see consumers start tightening their belts again.’

 

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