The CBI had suggested quite perky retail sales in October in its distributive trades survey, while the British Retail Consortium had a much more subdued picture. On this occasion the BRC was the best guide.
Retail sales in October were disappointing, volumes falling by 0.8% compared with September, or 0.7% excluding automotive fuel. Volumes were up by a modest 0.6% on a year earlier, or 1.1% excluding fuel. The fact that October's volume index was below the third quarter average shows that the sector has work to do in the fourth.
That might be made easier by the timing of half-term holidays for many schools, which traditionally boost spending. The cut-off for the October numbers was October 27, many half-term holidays coming later than that. Nevertheless, downbeat figures. More here.