Business

UK retail sales fell 0.8% in October

  • 15 November 2012
  • From the section Business

UK retail sales fell by more than expected in October as shoppers cut back on food and clothing purchases, official data shows.

The Office for National Statistics said sales volumes fell 0.8% last month, having risen by 0.5% in September.

Food stores reported the biggest monthly decline in sales since November 2011.

Compared with a year earlier, retail sales were up 0.6%, although this was also below analysts' forecasts.

Analysts had expected a fall in October of about 0.2%, and the steeper decline may add to worries about economic growth following Wednesday's Bank of England warning about the UK recovery.

In October, sales of clothes and shoes fell 2.3% on the month. Food stores reported the biggest monthly decline in sales since November 2011, the ONS.

"Retail sales had improved through 2012 as the fall in inflation eased the squeeze on households, but as inflation goes up that puts the brakes on retail sales for now," said Rob Wood, economist at Berenberg Bank. "I think a contraction in GDP is on the cards for the fourth quarter."

Retailers will now be looking to the key Christmas period to boost sales. A survey by the CBI business group late last month reported that retailers expected a pick-up in sales in November.

In a more positive sign, car manufacturing lobby SMMT said production of cars and commercial vehicles in October was up 6.4% from a year earlier, taking the rise in the first 10 months of 2012 to 8.4%.

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