Retail sales rose by 0.9 per cent in February, year-on-year, according to the Retail Economics Retail Sales Index (value, non-seasonally adjusted and excluding fuel). This was a mild improvement on January when sales rose 0.4 per cent but these latest figures have set a new tone of underlying weakness. That said, there are some seasonal factors to consider with Mother’s Day falling on 6 March in 2016, much earlier than 26 March this year. Accordingly, some of the build-up in sales would have been captured in February 2016 but not in this year’s data making comparables tough. But despite seasonal distortions, for some time now we have been expecting a slowdown in retail spending and consumer spending more generally. The headwinds are strengthening and rising inflation is beginning to bear down on household spending. The rapid rise in inflation poses a significant threat. Given the future path of inflation may be a little higher than the Monetary Policy Committee had expected, interest rates could rise rather sooner than the markets have recently been anticipating. However, considerable uncertainty remains around Brexit negotiations and how strongly the economy will weather this uncertainty. As such, we don’t expect a hike in 2017 but the notion of any increase could spook consumers into tightening the purse strings further.
UK Retail Sales Report
Retail Economics reports a range of retail sales indices on a monthly basis. Subscribers have access to all data (analytical reports and interactive data) and category breakdowns including online retail sales, clothing and footwear, household goods, food, DIY and gardening, consumer electricals and more.
UK Retail Sales - March 2017
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The UK Retail Sales report includes:
|Summary and economic overview|
|Sales growth by category (year-on-year)|
|Online sales growth (year-on-year)|
|Sales spend by region|
|Total spend by sector|
|Average weekly spend (£m)|
|Footfall by channel|
|Summary of external retail sales sources including Office for National Statistics, British Retail Consortium, CBI, BDO, John Lewis, Visa and more|