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Economy in Brief

UK Retail Sales Rebound After Larger Set-Back
by Robert Brusca March 25, 2010

UK retail sales are up by a sharper-than-expected 1.9% in February but the bounce is from a 2.5% drop in January. The UK sales path has been a rocky one as the growth rate chart above attests. As you would expect, Yr/Yr sales have been the most stable and largely have continued to post their fluctuations in positive territory. But we get a sense of momentum in comparing the growth rate of six months with twelve-months and in comparing three-months with six-months. The shorter the period for the growth rate calculation, the weaker the growth rate and with a rise as the last observation, that is not a good thing. Momentum is eroding from twelve months to six months and from six months to three months.

Ex autos the retail sales growth rates show the same pattern of decay as 12-month growth is 3.4% compared to a arte of -0.7% over six months and of -4.5% over three months.

In the quarter-to-date both overall and ex-auto sales are posting sizeable negative numbers.

Against that background it is hard to call the day’s numbers good news. They are better than negative numbers at this point but UK retail sales are doing nothing very special. The UK still appears to be very growth-challenged.

UK Real and Nominal Retail Sales
  Nominal Feb-10 Jan-10 Dec-09 3-MO 6-MO 12-MO YrAGo Quarter
Retail Total 1.9% -2.5% 0.0% -2.7% 0.7% 4.9% -3.0% -8.0%
Food Bev & Tobacco -1.2% -1.3% 1.4% -4.5% -2.1% 0.8% 5.6% -4.2%
Clothing footwear 1.5% 3.6% 0.5% 24.6% 12.5% 6.5% -3.3% 20.4%
 Retial Ex auto 2.1% -3.0% -0.2% -4.5% -0.7% 3.4% -2.7% -10.3%
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