Brits Continue to Spend

17 August 2001

British consumers continue to defy the economic slowdown, with retail sales volumes jumping 0.6% in July, according to the Office for National Statistics.

Following a flat June, sales were boosted by warm weather and summer sales. July’s figures increased the annual growth rate from 5.6% to 6%, said the ONS, adding that the underlying trend is “very steady”.

The strongest demand was recorded by footwear and clothing stores, which registered the biggest rise in volume sales since records began. Non-store volumes – possibly buoyed by a rise in mail order and online shopping – jumped 6.1%, again the largest monthly increase ever recorded. Sales of household goods, however, were disappointing.

The value of sales jumped 7.1% year-on-year in the three months to July. Non-food retailers saw sales growth of 7.9% over the period, while food retailers posted only 4.2%.

Continued buoyancy in consumer spending may discourage the Bank of England from cutting interest rates any further.

News source: Financial Times