Retail sales edge up - but goods are still getting cheaper

Catherine Neilan
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Today's figures are good news for shoppers - but not so good for retailers' bottom lines (Source: Getty).
Retail sales have continued their upwards trajectory for the 19th month in a row – but it appears to be largely driven by falling prices and discounting.
Figures published this morning by the Office for National Statistics show that consumer spending in October increased by 2.8 per cent year-on-year, but the amount of goods we are buying has increased by 4.3 per cent.
Spending rose by 0.7 per cent on the month before – the average weekly spend throughout October was £7.1bn, compared with £6.8bn in September and £6.9bn a year earlier.
But people are getting a lot more for their money than they were back then – which is obviously no bad thing for shoppers, but it will be eating into retailers' margins and as we have seen from some of the big high street giants, this is affecting the bottom line.
Online sales meanwhile have slowed to the lowest year-on-year increase since November 2012, up just 7.5 per cent year-on-year.

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