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Retail sales fall unexpectedly in August

Retail sales fell unexpectedly in August, fuelling concerns that Britons have begun cutting back in expectation of tough economic conditions.

Sales excluding cars and petrol fell by 0.5% on the month. Analysts had been expecting a 0.3% rise. The fall in sales was also a sharp reversal from the 0.8% rise seen in July.

August retail sales were up by 0.4% from the same month a year ago, the smallest increase since April.

Howard Archer, chief UK and European economist at IHS Global Insight said that the unexpected monthly fall in sales was a ‘nasty shock.’

‘It will likely fuel fears of a double dip, given the importance of consumer spending to the economy and the fact that the fall in sales were broad based in August,’ he said.

‘Furthermore, August's drop in retail sales occurred despite evidence that there was competitive pricing.’

News of the fall in sales is in keeping with recent updates from the retail sector, with many companies posting strong results but sounding a cautious note over future trading.

Source : Rory Gallivan - Sharecast

16 September 2010
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