Retail sales pick up but growth stays sluggish

Julian Harris
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RETAIL sales in the UK rose for the first time in three months in October, according to official statistics released yesterday.

Sales volumes were up 0.5 per cent compared to September, but still 0.1 per cent lower than the same month in 2009.

Online retailers continued to outperform their traditional High Street rivals, with non-store retailing up 1.2 per cent on September and a staggering 12 per cent on October 2009.

But shops selling household goods such as hardware stores and DIY superstores fared the worse, with sales down 4.7 per cent year-on-year, due to the slowdown in the housing market. Sales at these retailers were down 0.6 per cent on September.

Analysts warned the VAT hike would likely stem retail sales growth in the New Year.