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Retail sales remain flat

Retail sales remain flat

Category: Economy

Updated: 22/10/2009
First Published: 22/10/2009

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This article was correct at the time of publication. It is now over 6 months old so the content may be out of date.
Retail sales in the UK last month were unchanged from August, figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) have revealed.

It marks the second month in succession in which no changes has been registered, despite the predictions of an increase by analysts.

Predominantly food sales recorded a slender fall of 0.1 per cent, while sales at stores selling predominantly non-food goods remained static.

Yearly comparisons were more encouraging, although September 2008 was an especially poor month. This September's retail sales were 2.4 per cent improved on the same period last year.

Richard Lim, British Retail Consortium Economist, said: "The official data confirm our findings that consumer confidence is fragile. There's a sense that the mood of customers is beginning to improve, but this has yet to be reflected in these figures.

"Food has been the main driver of overall sales growth for the past few years, but this September saw slower food sales growth as food inflation weakened.

"Some sectors are seeing confidence trickle back – clothing and furniture, for example, saw sales growth up a little. Though this year's run-up to Christmas period is compared to very weak figures last year – when total sales growth fell below zero."

The figures will raise questions about the strength of any economic recovery, although this could change tomorrow as results may show that the UK recorded growth in the third quarter of the year.

Any rise would represent the first positive movement in the UK economy for 12 months.

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