U.K. Retail Sales Dip Less Than Forecast As Confidence Holds
U.K. retail sales declined less than economists forecast in August following the strongest July increase in 14 years, the Office for National Statistics said on Thursday.
The volume of goods sold in stores and online fell 0.2 percent (median forecast was 0.4 percent decline). Sales excluding auto fuel declined 0.3 percent (median forecast was 0.7 percent drop). Sales in July grew 1.9 percent instead of 1.4 percent initially estimated.
The figures suggest a pullback following a strong July, with the ONS saying there is no evidence of “any major fall” in consumer confidence following the June decision to leave the European Union.
Surveys show consumer sentiment rebounding from the initial Brexit shock, and data from construction output to the labor market point to an economy doing better than many had predicted.
“It still looks likely that consumers have played a key role in keeping the economy growing following June’s Brexit vote,” said Howard Archer at IHS Global Insight. “Even if retail sales volumes are only flat month-on-month in September, they would have grown 1.5 percent quarter-on-quarter in the third quarter.”
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