Retail sales volumes rose by 0.4 per cent in August 2023, partially recovering from a fall of 1.1 per cent in July 2023, new government figures show.
Non-food stores sales volumes grew by 0.6 per cent in August 2023, following a fall of 1.2 per cent in July 2023 when unseasonable rainy weather drove shoppers off the high street, the ONS said.
Clothing stores reported a 2.3 per cent increase in August 2023, mostly recovering from their fall of 2.9 per cent in the previous month.
Household goods stores said sales volumes reported a monthly rise of 1.1 per cent in August 2023 because of increases in hardware and furniture stores.
However, department stores and other non-food stores, such as bookshops, dipped by 0.4 per cent in August 2023, as consumers still grappled with cost of living pressures and price rises.
Food stores sales volumes also showed signs of recovery towards the tail end of the summer, growing 1.2 per cent. It followed a fall of 2.6 per cent in July when poor weather halted BBQ and picnic plans
This week’s better than expected inflation reading of 6.7 per cent will also hopefully improve buyer sentiment as the worst of the cost of living pressures appear to show signs of cooling.
Kelly Askew, retail strategy and consulting lead in the UK and Ireland at Accenture, said: “Although the summer weather may not have improved much from July to August, the fortunes of UK retailers did. Shoppers made the most of the last Bank Holiday of the year by increasing their spending, particularly on food.
“Businesses will be hoping that this optimism will continue as we head towards Christmas. Despite this week’s unexpected fall in inflation, shoppers may still be looking at cutbacks this festive season as the cost of living continues to bite.”
Helen, chief executive of the British Retail Consortium, said that the next few months are vital for retailers as they gear up Christmas trading
She said: “While cost-of-living challenges continue to loom large, retailers are working hard ensuring customers get the best possible value.
“Their capacity to do this is limited by the upcoming rise to business rates, which will see retailers paying hundreds of millions more every year and which the Chancellor should scrap in his upcoming Autumn Statement.