Thursday, April 21, 2011
Retail sales surprise on the upside, public borrowing undershoots
Posted by David Smith at 10:00 AM
Category: Thoughts and responses

Following dire warnings from the British Retail Consortium there was a pleasant surprise in the retail sales figures, with sales volume up by 0.2% on the month and 1.3% on a year earlier. Sales value, which the BRC measures, was up by a hefty 4.5% on the Office for National Statistics' figures. It is, to be fair, a very mixed picture, as the ONS says. Computer and technology stores are doing well, as are internet retailers, while household goods stores are doing very badly, presumably reflecting housing weakness. More here.

Meanwhile, there was a welcome undershoot on public borrowing for 2010-11. The outturn of 141.1 billion compared with 156.5 billion in 2009-10 and the Office for Budget Responsibility prediction of 145.9 billion. Given that many expected a higher 2010-11 number than in 2009-10, this was pretty good (to the extent that borrowing on this scale can ever be regarded as good news). More here.