Retail sales up in July

Nia Williams

August 20, 2009

The seasonally adjusted value of retail sales for the three months to July was 1.4 per cent higher than the same period a year earlier and July 2009 was 2.6 per cent higher than in July 2008.

Total sales volume in the three months to July was 1.6 per cent higher than the same period a year ago. Within predominantly non-food, non-specialised stores rose by 4.9 per cent and textile, clothing and footwear rose by 7.3 per cent, driven by clothing. Household goods decreased by 5.5 per cent, driven by furniture and hardware stores.

Between June and July, total sales volume increased by 0.4 per cent, against market expectations of a 0.2% increase. Food stores were down by 1.0 per cent, while household goods stores increased by 4.5 per cent, driven by furniture and electrical stores, this is the highest since August 2006. Non-store retailing and repair increased by 3.1 per cent.

Richard Lowe, Head of Retail and Wholesale, Barclays Commercial Bank said: “Consumers have flooded to the high street at the sight of this summers sunshine. Although it may not have been the barbecue summer we were all promised, the public rushed to snap-up the sales bargains in July. Valiant retailers have been enticing customers with stronger than usual seasonal discounting, driving footfall and sales. At the slight expense of margin, businesses in the clothing sector have successfully attracted the attention of the public, and high street promotional festivals have also brought shoppers through the door as they look for alternatives to a more costly day out with the family.

“The healthy increase year or year, and over the last three months, confirms that figures are moving in the right direction. After bottoming-out in recently, today’s increases will encourage many struggling high street businesses. There is however a mixed message across the entire sector and household goods have firmly been off shoppers recent purchasing agenda. Having brought their new clothes they’ve turned their attention outdoors instead of to equipping their homes. Household goods retailers will therefore be looking to the upcoming August bank holiday sales to catch the eye of the consumer.

“Tourism, both international and domestic, has had a part to play in a seasonal boost to the retail sector. With foreign tourists benefitting from attractive exchange rates, and UK residents opting to stay at home this year, there will be a positive impact on the number of shoppers visiting the high street. Successful retailers hoping for prolonged stable trading conditions are in control of tighter stock levels, attempting to prepare for uncertainty as to whether demand will meet supply in the months ahead.”

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