Thursday, March 24, 2011
Retail sales drop in February
Posted by David Smith at 11:00 AM
Category: Thoughts and responses

George Osborne might have hoped for better news either side of his budget than Tuesday's inflation figures and today's retail sales numbers. These showed a drop of 0.8% in sales volume, following January's downward-revised 1.5% increase. Taking January and February together, sales volume was 0.5% higher than the average for the fourth quarter of 2010. Assuming there is not another fall in March, there will be modest first quarter growth.

The overall retail sales picture is a bit odd. Sales value in February 2011 was a healthy 5% up on a year earlier. Take out inflation and that reduces to volume growth of just 1.3%. Sales volume for food stores was down 2.2% over 12 months (puzzling), while non-food was up 2%. Are we eating less in the age of austerity? More here.