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U.K. August Retail Sales Unexpectedly Gain in Summer Heatwave
Thursday, 20 September 2018 15:49 WIB | ECONOMY |Ekonomi inggrisUK Retail Sales

U.K. retail sales unexpectedly increased last month as the warmest summer on record encouraged shoppers to splash out.

Sales rose 0.3 percent from July, compared with a median estimate of a 0.2 percent decline in a Bloomberg survey. Figures for the previous month were also revised up, according to data from the Office for National Statistics in London. 

The increase was led by household goods such as furniture and electrical items. Sales of food and clothing fell on the month after strong gains in July. Excluding auto fuel, sales also rose 0.3 percent. 

The warm weather helped overall retail sales climb and annual 3.4 percent in the June to August period, compared with just a 2.1 percent gain last year, the ONS said. Stores also may have pushed discounts harder than in previous years.

Still, price gains remain a concern for the Bank of England, which raised interest rates last month to the highest level in almost a decade. A report yesterday showed the rate unexpectedly accelerated to 2.7 percent, above the central bank's 2 percent target.

The strong summer for stores comes after a year in which U.K. consumers suffered from price gains that outstripped wage growth, thanks to the pound's post-Brexit vote slump. That's been brutal for traditional U.K. retailers, who are also struggling in the face of increasing competition from the internet.

John Lewis Partnership said earlier this month that their pre-tax profit fell almost 99 percent in the first half after a weaker pound and internet-fueled price competition crushed margins. Spending online jumped 14.2 percent from a year earlier in August, the ONS said.

From a year ago, retail sales increased 3.3 percent in August. Excluding fuel, annual growth was 3.5 percent.

Source : Bloomberg

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