UK retail sales grew last month by 0.4 per cent, following a decline in spending in July thanks to the wet weather.
This is according to the latest data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS), which showed that sales “partially” recovered from a revised fall of 1.1 per cent in July.
Warmer weather in August encouraged shoppers back on to the high street, meaning that online shopping dwindled. Non-store retailers reported a 1.3 per cent fall in sales volumes following a 1.9 per cent rise in July – again, thanks to poor weather.
However, Helen Dickinson, Chief Executive of the British Retail Consortium, pointed out that white goods and other big-ticket items continued to take a hit as households spent more cautiously.
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.”
Earlier today (Friday), market research firm GfK said its measure of consumer confidence was the highest since January last year.
Overall, the value of spending continues to climb above pre-pandemic levels, while volumes have fallen, as consumers are spending more money for fewer items in their baskets.
Compared with data from February 2020, total retail sales were 17.3 per cent higher in value terms but volumes were 1.5 per cent lower, the ONS reported.
Ms Dickinson added: “Returning consumer confidence helped retail sales regain lost ground after a challenging July. The next few months are vital for retailers as they gear up for the all-important Christmas trading.”