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UK retail recovery continues apace in August

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British retail sales extended gains last month, as parts of the sector enjoyed a much faster rebound than most of the economy, official figures showed on Friday.

[LONDON] British retail sales extended gains last month, as parts of the sector enjoyed a much faster rebound than most of the economy, official figures showed on Friday.

Retail sales volumes rose by 0.8 per cent in August, the Office for National Statistics said - slightly above the average 0.7 per cent forecast in a Reuters poll - and compared with a year earlier they were up 2.8 per cent, versus forecasts of 3.0 per cent annual growth.

British retail sales had already overtaken pre-Covid levels in July and now stand 4.0 per cent higher than before the crisis.

However, the rebound masks a sharp split between online and high-street retailers, with online and mail order retailing up 34.4 per cent on the year in August, while many traditional retailers outside the grocery sector have struggled due to reduced footfall.

The crisis in traditional retailing is having a knock-on effect for commercial landlords, with some stores closing and tenants such as clothing chain New Look seeking to renegotiate rents so that they are linked to turnover.

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REUTERS

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