Retail sales stagnate for second month in a row

DESPITE recent surveys suggesting a brighter outlook for the British high street, official data showed yesterday that retail sales failed to grow in September for the second month in a row.<br /><br />Figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) showed there was no growth in the volume of retail sales compared to August. <br /><br />However, the annual rate showed retail sales rose 2.4 per cent on September 2008, which reflects the improvement in the economy compared to the period just after Lehman Brothers collapsed. For the third quarter as a whole, sales growth was 0.9 per cent. <br /><br />Although analysts pointed to the timelier surveys from the Confederation for British Industry (CBI) and the British Retail Consortium (BRC), which were both more upbeat than the official data, they said that the weak figures highlighted concerns over the strength of the UK recovery.<br /><br />Vicky Redwood at Capital Economics said: &ldquo;Even if the figures are overstating the weakness on the high street, they are a reminder of the pressure that consumers are still under.&rdquo;