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Economy in Brief

UK Retail Sales Stir
by Robert Brusca August 20, 2009

The 0.4% rise in real UK retail sales is the largest increase in fourteen months. Retail sales ex autos also rose by 0.4% and put in its second month-in-row increase.

The momentum in real retail sales is positive, having recovered from some very deep lows reached just after mid-year in 2008. In contrast this global business cycle hit the US consumer most strongly at the end of 2008 and in early 2009.

UK food and beverage purchases have been a mainstay of growth over the past year. But spending in this category fell in July. Clothing and foot wear expenditures have run hot and cold and these took a small decline in July as well. The strength in retail sales came from other sectors in July.

In the quarter to date real ex-auto retail sales are growing at a robust 6.4% annual rate. The new quarter is only one month old but it is off to a very good start for UK retailers.

UK Real and Nominal Retail Sales
Nominal Jul-09 Jun-09 May-09 3-MO 6-MO 12-MO Yr AGo Quarter-2-date
  Retail Total 0.5% 0.7% -0.5% 2.9% 2.9% 2.6% 3.1% 5.1%
  Food Bev & Tobacco -0.4% 0.7% 0.5% 3.0% 7.1% 5.2% 7.1% 1.2%
  Clothing footwear -0.1% 3.2% -2.2% 3.3% -1.4% 2.7% 1.0% 7.8%
  Retail Ex auto 0.4% 1.4% -0.9% 3.6% 1.8% 3.3% 1.1% 6.4%
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