Furniture and vacuum cleaners drive retail sales into 17th month of growth

Catherine Neilan
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High street: Retail sector showing "underlying growth", says ONS (Source: Getty)
Retail sales are starting to look healthier, with the volume of items bought in August up 3.9 per cent year-on-year, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS).
This is the 17th month of consecutive year-on-year growth, prompting the ONS to say “it would be true to say that the underlying picture is one of growth”.
The biggest uplift was in household goods, which rose 12.7 per cent on last year – the biggest increase since October 2001, largely thanks to furniture stores, which grew a record-breaking 23.4 per cent.
Electrical appliance stores also contributed to the top line, as consumers rushed to buy high-powered vacuum cleaners before the EU energy saving regulation came into force at the end of the month.
Sales also edged up on a monthly basis, rising 0.4 per cent from July's levels.
Consumers are spending more on these items – the amount spent increased 2.7 per cent year-on-year and 0.2 per cent month-on-month.
However, average store prices fell 1.2 per cent annually, the largest fall since July 2009, with petrol stations seeing the biggest drop at 5 per cent. Food store prices also fell 0.1 per cent, the first annual decline since December 2004.

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