British retail sales fall unexpectedly in August – business live

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Retail sales across Britain fell last month, in another sign that the economy cooled over the summer, and as people spent more time eating and drinking in bars and restaurants.

Sales volumes fell by 0.9% in August, dashing expectations of a 0.5% rise in sales, and comes after retailers suffered a 2.8% fall in July.

It suggest retailers had a tough summer, as the initial surge in demand following the spring reopening faded.

Michael Hewson 🇬🇧

UK Retail Sales incl’ auto (Aug) act: -0.9%, exp: 0.5%, prev: -2.5% #gbp

September 17, 2021

New figures just released by the Office for National Statistics shows that spending in food stores fell — as more people dined out following the easing of lockdown rules.

There was also a fall in department store sales, while spending on motor fuel picked up as more people returned to the road.

Jonathan Athow, ONS deputy national statistician for economic statistics, explains:

“Sales fell again in August, though not nearly as much as in July and, overall, remained above their pre-pandemic level.

“Other data suggest that the drop in food stores’ sales is linked to an increase in eating out following the lifting of coronavirus restrictions.

“Meanwhile, motor fuel sales increased on the month as people ventured out more, but they remained below pre-pandemic levels.”

Office for National Statistics (ONS)

Commenting on today’s retail sales figures for August, Deputy National Statistician for Economic Statistics Jonathan Athow @jathers_ons said: (1/2)

September 17, 2021

Office for National Statistics (ONS)

.@jathers_ons continued: (2/2)

September 17, 2021

Here’s the details:

  • Food store sales volumes fell by 1.2% in August 2021, with some evidence to suggest that the further easing of hospitality restrictions had an impact on sales; people increased their social spending such as eating and drinking at restaurants and bars.
  • Non-food stores reported a fall of 1.0% in sales volumes in August 2021, driven by falls in department stores (negative 3.7%) and other stores, such as sports equipment and computer stores (negative 1.2%).
  • Automotive fuel sales volumes rose by 1.5% in August 2021 as people continued to increase their amount of travel; however, they remained 1.2% below their pre-pandemic February 2020 levels.
  • The proportion of retail sales online rose to 27.7% in August 2021 from 27.1% in July, substantially higher than the 19.7% in February 2020 before the pandemic.

Compared with a year ago, sales volumes were flat — but that still leaves them 4.6% above their pre-pandemic levels:

Office for National Statistics (ONS)

Our latest data show retail sales fell by an estimated 0.9% in August 2021 compared with July 2021.

This is 4.6% higher than their pre-pandemic levels (February 2020)

September 17, 2021

More details and reaction to follow…

We’ll also be tracking Europe’s energy price crunch which is threatening to derail the region’s economic recovery. The supply crunch is hitting profits, and forcing some manufacturers to suspend work – including at two UK fertiliser plants.

Javier Blas

EUROPEAN ENERGY CRUNCH: For the first time in a couple of weeks, European gas is down sharply (>10%), and so are electricity prices. Yet, both gas and power prices remain close to a record). The bad news is that some of the drop is linked to signs of industries shutting down.

September 16, 2021

Investors are also watching for the latest US consumer confidence report, for signs that the Delta variant has hit confidence.

We also get updated eurozone consumer price data, likely to confirm that inflation hit a decade high of 3% in August.

European markets are set to open higher on the final trading day of the week.


European Opening Calls:#FTSE 7063 +0.50%#DAX 15733 +0.52%#CAC 6667 +0.66%#AEX 803 +0.62%#MIB 26069 +0.41%#IBEX 8781 +0.54%#OMX 2354 +0.42%#STOXX 4198 +0.69%#IGOpeningCall

September 17, 2021

The agenda

  • 7am BST: Great British retail sales for August
  • 10am BST: Eurozone inflation rate for August (final estimate)
  • 3pm BST: University of Michigan survey of US consumer sentiment in September


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