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Economy in Brief

UK Retail Sales Show Improvement
by Robert Brusca June 17, 2010

UK retail sales rose by 0.4% in May as April sales were revised lower. The volume of ex-auto retail sales rose 0.6% from a month earlier and gained 2.2% on a year-to-year basis in May. The year-to-year increase was the strongest since November 2009. Economists had expected a 0.3% monthly gain and a 2.1% year-to-year increase. Both figures were exceeded but not without some offset.

April, sales were revised down sharply to show an unchanged reading on the month and a 1.3% increase on the year. That revision obviously undercut the May Year-to-Year result as well- which lacking the revision - would have been much stronger. The UK's statistical bureau, the ONS, originally reported that retail sales rose 0.3% on the month and by 1.8% year-to-year.

Still, May's report leaves UK retail sales with some life and with some near term acceleration. World Cup soccer spending is being credited for some of the bump up. The best news is from the impact on spending in the quarter-to-date where real spending is up at a 7.7% annual rate excluding autos.

UK Real and Nominal Retail Sales
Nominal May-10 Apr-10 Mar-10 3-MO 6-MO 12-MO YrAGo Quarter-
Retail Total 0.4% 0.9% 1.1% 9.8% 2.6% 4.4% -3.3% 12.8%
MV and Parts
Food Bev & Tobacco 0.7% 0.4% 0.9% 8.3% 1.7% 1.4% 4.0% 5.0%
Clothing footwear -1.9% 2.7% -0.6% 0.7% 11.2% 6.5% -8.0% 9.4%
Retial Ex auto 0.6% 0.0% 0.7% 5.5% -1.1% 2.2% -2.4% 7.7%
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