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Economy in Brief

UK Retail Sales Show Unexpected Zest
by Robert Brusca March 20, 2008

UK retail sales surged in February quite unexpectedly. Sales popped by 1.2% in nominal terms and by 0.9% inflation adjusted ex-autos Real sales ex autos are now up a strong 5.1% from one-year ago while nominal sales overall are up 4.7%.

In the quarter to date Real Retail Sales ex Autos are rising at a 9.8% annual rate. Nominal overall retails ales are up at am 11.4% pace. Sales are off to a terrific start in Q1.

January and February sales are not quite strong a sharp turnaround from the drop in Sales in December. Whereas once the UK economy seemed to be floundering, now strength has emerged in several areas, most recently in retailing. At the same time, the inflation readings have become more nettlesome. All bets are off as far as what the BOE does next and when.

UK Real and Nominal Retail Sales
Nominal Feb-08 Jan-08 Dec-07 3-MO 6-MO 12-MO YrAGo
Retail Total 1.2% 1.2% -0.7% 7.3% 5.5% 5.0% 4.7%
Food Beverage & Tobacco 1.2% 1.1% 0.2% 10.7% 8.2% 6.4% 3.9%
Clothing footwear 2.6% 0.4% 0.4% 13.9% 5.0% 3.6% 6.9%
Retail Ex Auto 0.9% 1.1% -0.3% 7.1% 5.3% 5.5% 5.1%
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