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Economy in Brief

Despite a Bump Up in July UK Retail Sales Trends Remain Poor
by Robert Brusca August 21, 2008

UK retail sales showed a sharp bump up in May of this year. Since that time it has been all downhill for the three major trends in retail sales: 3-mo, 6-mo and Yr/yr. The trends generally display a progressive deterioration in the pace of sales.

Over three-months there is a slight uptick in these deteriorating trends and one that spreads across the main growths we display in the table. Even real retail sales ex- autos show some lift. But retail sales are volatile and vagaries of weather and calendar can imbue a month with unexpected results. If we take the growth in July annualized over the level of sales Q2 we find that quarter-to-date sales are not just losing momentum but declining. The bump up in July was not enough to offset the sharp weakness experienced in June. That suggests that the June/July period taken together is a better barometer of sales trends.

UK Real and Nominal Retail Sales
Nominal Jul-08 Jun-08 May-08 3-Mo 6-Mo 12-Mo Yr Ago Quarter-2-date
Retail Total 1.0% -3.9% 4.2% 4.6% 3.2% 3.6% 3.2% -1.8%
Food Beverages & Tobacco 1.2% -3.2% 4.3% 9.0% 5.3% 6.8% 0.6% 2.6%
Clothing Footwear 2.2% -7.7% 9.5% 14.2% 1.9% 1.7% 1.5% -1.0%
Retail Ex Auto 0.8% -4.3% 4.0% 1.2% 0.4% 2.0% 4.4% -5.0%
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