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ONS: Retail Sales Declined In September

Shoppers London UK Street Sunny shutterstock_1137631598 William Barton 1

The ONS has published retail sales data for September 2023, covering the period 27 August to 30 September 2023, including the August bank holiday on 28 August.

Main points:

  • Retail sales volumes have fallen by 0.9% in September 2023, following a rise of 0.4% in August 2023. 

  • When compared with their pre-coronavirus pandemic level in February 2020, total retail sales were 17.1% higher in value terms, but volumes were 2.5% lower.

  • Looking at the quarterly picture, sales volumes fell by 0.8% in the three months to September 2023 when compared with the previous three months.

  • Non-food stores sales volumes fell by 1.9% in September 2023; retailers reported that the fall over the month was because of continuing cost of living pressures, alongside the unseasonably warm weather reducing sales of autumn-wear clothing. 

  • Within non-food, household goods stores sales volumes reported a monthly fall of 2.3% in September 2023 because of falls in furniture and lighting stores. Retailers suggested that consumers were still struggling with the increased cost of living and prices.

  • Non-store retailing (predominantly online retailers) sales volumes fell by 2.2% in September 2023, following a fall of 0.9% in August.

  • Food stores sales volumes rose by 0.2% in September 2023, following a rise of 1.4% in August 2023.

  • Automotive fuel sales volumes rose by 0.8% in September 2023, rebounding from a fall of 1.0% in August 2023. 

Responding to the latest ONS Retail Sales Index figures, Helen Dickinson, Chief Executive of the British Retail Consortium, said:

“As mortgages, rents and fuel costs continued to weigh on households, sales were impacted for big ticket items such as computers, electricals and larger household appliances. Meanwhile, cosmetics and toiletries had another strong month.”

“With the “Golden Quarter” fast approaching, retailers are hopeful that easing inflation we have seen in recent months will boost consumer confidence. Retailers will continue to support customers by bringing prices down wherever they can. But, the support they can provide will be limited by the expected £470m-a-year rise to business rates from next April. The Chancellor must scrap the rates rise in his upcoming Budget so retailers can continue to deliver the best value for customers over the festive period and beyond.”

Source : ONS, BRC

Image : William Barton / (1137631598) 

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20 October 2023

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