Retail sales rise in September

But is it all down to the clothing sector?
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The Office for National Statistics has revealed that September saw somewhat of a recovery for the UK's retail sales.

One key figure to take away is the 0.6 per cent rise in sales volumes, compared to August, which had a 0.1 per cent dip.

More good news comes from the year-on-year figures. Compared with September 2011, the amount of goods bought in the retail sector in 2012 was up by 2.5 per cent.

The ONS reports that, consistent with the Consumer Prices Index, the main source of upward pressure came from a rise in prices at stores selling textiles, clothing and footwear. However, with retailers from Argos to Dixons and John Lewis recently reporting strong technology sales, there's hope that the IT industry was a significant contributor too.

The average weekly spend across all retailing in September 2012 was estimated at £6.6 billion; compared with £6.5 billion in August 2012 and £6.4 billion in September 2011.

Internet sales continue to grow, with the proportion of such sales increasing by 0.5 per cent between August and September 2012. In September 2012 the estimated average weekly spend on line was £507.8 million.

Chris Gates, director of retail at Hitachi Consulting UK, commented: 

“Today’s retail results from the Office of National Statistics (ONS) highlight that retail sales are continuing to grow as we enter Q3 and move in to the Christmas period. As retailers remain cautious about growth in the months ahead, we are likely to see more focus on putting the customer at the centre of the shopping experience to benefit from the opportunities that the seasonal shopping season offers.

"In today’s fast-paced retail environment, the in-store experience is quickly evolving and becoming heavily influenced by online behaviour and mobile devices. 

"As a result, not only do brands need to ensure that they have developed a consistent presence across all the digital touchpoints, but they need to remember that most in-store customers will be focused on seeing a product first hand and being able to make the purchase and take immediate possession of the product."

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