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Economy in Brief

UK Retail Sales Surge in 22-Yr High Gain
by Robert Brusca June 19, 2008

Retail sales surged by 4% in May marking the strongest gain in 22 years. Economists’ estimates had looked for sales to drop slightly. The gain has flummoxed observers who are not quite sure what to make of the new developing trend. The chart above shows that sales had been volatile but the sharp gain in May has created a new uptrend in sales trends. The jump in May has doubled the Yr/Yr growth rate for sales in one fell swoop.

The jump in retail sales is a tremendous conundrum for policy since it is difficult to believe that we are at the dawn of a new spending spree and it is difficult to reconcile the jump in spending with past trends and current circumstances.

UK Real and Nominal Retail Sales
Nominal May-08 Apr-08 Mar-08 3-MO 6-MO 12-MO YrAGo
Retail Total 4.0% 0.0% -0.5% 14.6% 11.6% 7.8% 4.2%
Food Beverages & Tobacco 4.2% -0.4% -0.2% 14.9% 12.5% 8.8% 4.7%
Clothing footwear 8.8% -2.1% -3.3% 12.8% 14.5% 8.4% 1.7%
Retail Ex auto 3.4% -0.3% -0.3% 11.9% 10.3% 8.1% 3.7%
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