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UK retail spending stagnates in August: BRC

Tuesday, September 8, 2015 - 07:27
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British retail spending stagnated last month as mixed weather and the later-than-usual date of a public holiday dampened sales of furniture and school clothing and equipment.

[LONDON] British retail spending stagnated last month as mixed weather and the later-than-usual date of a public holiday dampened sales of furniture and school clothing and equipment.

The British Retail Consortium said retail spending in August was just 0.1 per cent higher than a year earlier, the smallest rise since April and down from 2.2 per cent growth in July.

Adjusted for the effect of falling high-street prices, sales were up by 1.4 per cent in August.

One reason for the low sales was that a late August bank holiday - which typically brings back-to-school spending on children's clothing and discount-driven furniture sales - fell outside the survey's four-week window this year.

Muggy weather towards the end of August also hurt demand for new autumn and winter fashion collections, especially boots. "Retailers will hope to recoup that sales deficit in September and to start feeling the effect of higher real wages,"BRC director-general Helen Dickinson said.

The BRC survey is gloomier than recent official data for July, but follows particularly bleak numbers from a study last week for accountants BDO, which showed the biggest drop in retail sales since the 2008 financial crisis.

Spending on a like-for-like basis, a measure which strips out changes in floorspace and is preferred by some equity analysts, fell 1.0 per cent year-on-year in August after a 1.2 per cent rise in July, the BRC said.

REUTERS