UK Retail Sales rose more than economists forecast in September on increased demand for winter clothing and school uniforms.
Sales including fuel gained 0.6 percent from August, when they fell 0.1 percent, the Office for National Statistics said today in London. The median forecast of 24 economists in a Bloomberg News survey was for a 0.4 percent gain. Clothes surged 2.1 percent, adding 0.2 percentage points to total sales.
While cooling inflation is easing the squeeze on Britons, any recovery in consumer spending may be kept in check as the economy struggles to recover from a recession and government budget cuts undermine sentiment. With the Bank of Englandâ€™s current stimulus round finishing next month, policy makers said yesterday they were split on the need for more so-called quantitative easing to aid the economy.
The data suggest â€œconsumers loosened their purse strings a little, albeit partly due to temporary factors,â€ said Samuel Tombs, an economist at Capital Economics Ltd. in London. Still, â€œrenewed pressure on householdsâ€™ income suggests that sales volumes will struggle in the coming months.â€
Within clothing, the statistics office said sales were helped by the introduction of winter collections. Retailers also reported that there was a boost â€œas consumers put off purchases of school uniforms until early September.â€
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