- U.K. Retail Sales Surged as Cooler Weather Boosts Spending
U.K. retail sales surged far more than economists expected in October as cooler weather boosted spending on winter fashions lines, sending clothing and footwear sales to the biggest increase in more than 2 1/2 years.
The volume of goods sold in stores and online jumped 1.9 percent from September, when they rose 0.1 percent, the Office for National Statistics said on Thursday. A 0.5 percent increase had been forecast in a survey. Sales excluding auto fuel jumped 2 percent. Both were the strongest since July.
“Cooler temperatures in October boosted clothing sales as shoppers took their cue to purchase winter clothing, while the supermarkets benefited from Halloween,” said ONS statistician Kate Davies. “This has also coincided with the strongest growth in Internet sales seen for five years.”
The figures suggest the British consumer remains in robust health after driving the economy to unexpectedly strong growth in the three months following the decision to leave the European Union.
But there are questions over how long that will last. Employment growth is slowing and household incomes are coming under growing pressure as the fall in the pound since the Brexit vote spurs inflation.
Clothing and footwear sales, which account for 12.5 percent of total sales, jumped 5.1 percent, the most since March 2014. Sales of household goods gained 0.8 percent and food sales climbed 0.8 percent.
Total sales surged 7.4 percent in October from a year earlier, the biggest increase since April 2002. A 26.8 percent annual rise in the value of Internet sales was the biggest since January 2011.