UK Retail Sales Fall More Than Expected

The decline in UK retail sales deepened unexpectedly in September as the rising cost of living weighed on the volume of spending, and also the holiday on account of the state funeral reduced sales.

Retail sales dropped 1.4 percent month-on-month, following a revised 1.7 percent decline in August, the Office for National Statistics reported Friday. Economists had forecast sales to drop at a slower pace of 0.5 percent.

Data showed that the broad downward trend in sales continued since the lifting of hospitality restrictions in the summer of 2021.

Food stores sales decreased 1.8 percent and non-food store sales dropped 0.6 percent. Automotive fuel sales volumes decreased 1.3 percent.

Excluding auto fuel, retail sales fell 1.5 percent after easing 1.7 percent in the previous month. Sales were forecast to ease 0.3 percent.

On a yearly basis, the decline in retail sales worsened to 6.9 percent in September from 5.6 percent in August. Economists had expected sales to fall 5.0 percent.

Excluding auto fuel, retail sales decreased 6.2 percent versus a 5.3 percent decline in the previous month. Sales were forecast to drop only 4.1 percent.

Survey results from the market research group GfK showed Friday that consumer sentiment unexpectedly improved in October despite soaring inflation and political uncertainty.

The consumer confidence index rose to -47 in October from -49 in September. The score was forecast to fall further to -52.0. The September reading was the lowest since the survey began in 1974.

GfK Client Strategy Director Joe Staton said households are concerned about rising inflation. They are also facing the likelihood of tax rises and even austerity measures, Staton added.

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