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Retail sales rise in September

Retail sales in the UK were up 2.5% by volume and 3.2% by value in September, with the year-on-year increase driven by a recovery in clothing, textiles and footwear.

The seasonally adjusted figures released by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) today (18 October), suggest retail volumes recovered, rising 0.6% in September compared to August, when sales fell back by 0.1%.

Similarly, values were up 1.1% on August, versus a 0.2% rise in August versus July.

Annual store price inflation increased to 0.7%, ONS said, while prices of goods were up 1.3%.

The main source of upward pressure on prices was clothing, textiles and footwear, it added.

The sector registered a 5.1% increase in sales volumes in September, with value up 5% – the biggest rises since December and March respectively.

Retailer Go Outdoors suggested that a spate of autumnal weather may have prompted consumers to buy winter clothes and walking boots earlier than last year, when an unseasonal late heatwave impacted clothing sales.

And British Retail Consortium director economist Richard Lim said: “Times remain very tough, but retailers will be cautiously optimistic that this tentative boost builds during the crucial countdown to Christmas.

“Customers are understandably still cautious due to continuing pressures on household budgets, but the signs are that they started to acclimatise to economic difficulties in September and made purchases which may have been postponed over the summer.”

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