[LONDON] British retail spending rose rapidly last month, boosted by a holiday weekend and the Rugby World Cup falling in this year's September survey period, the British Retail Consortium said on Tuesday.
The BRC said the total value of retail sales between Aug 30 and Oct 3 was 3.9 per cent higher than in the September period of 2014, the fastest increase since March and much bigger than the 0.1 per cent gain recorded in August.
The BRC's figures are not seasonally adjusted, and September figures this year were boosted by back-to-school spending from the late August holiday weekend falling in the September survey period, as well as England hosting the Rugby World Cup.
BRC chief executive officer Helen Dickinson said the growth in sales was likely to be overstated given those factors, but the figures suggest British consumers are continuing to help the economy through a period of weaker growth abroad.
For the third quarter as a whole, retail spending was 2.2 per cent up on the year - stronger than the 1.1 per cent recorded in the second quarter, which was affected by the timing of Easter, but slower than the first quarter's 2.8 per cent growth.
Furniture, clothing and footwear were the fastest-growing retail sectors. The BRC said autumnal weather boosted demand for seasonal clothing ranges.
Adjusted for falling prices, the BRC said retail sales were up 5.8 per cent in September, compared with 3.5 per cent sales growth in August in comparable official data.
Spending on a like-for-like basis, a measure which strips out changes in floorspace and is preferred by some equity analysts, rose 2.6 per cent year-on-year in September after a 1.0 per cent fall in August, the BRC said.