Friday, April 20, 2012
Retail sales - distorted but strong
Posted by David Smith at 09:45 AM
Category: Thoughts and responses

The fuel panic had an impact on the official retail sales figures and, by implication, should have provided a boost to first quarter gross domestic product. Overall retail sales volumes rose by 1.8% between February and March and were 3.3% up on a year earlier. The office for National Statistics says that part of that reflected the rush to buy petrol and diesel ahead of the feared tanker-drivers' strike.

Whether or not there was panic buying of other goods, or whether it was just the favourable weather, but sales excluding fuel also rose strongly, by 1.5%, and were 2.8% up on a year earlier. The retail sales deflator rose from 2.4% to 2.5% in March compared with February, in line with the small rise in consumer price inflation reported earlier in the week.

Overall, a distorted but reasonably strong set of figures. More here.