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UK retail sales in September fell below 2020 levels

By Don-Alvin Adegeest


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Image: John Lewis Partnership

UK retail sales slid 1.4 percent in September, 1.3 percent below pre-covid levels in February 2020, according the latest data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

While retailers continue to mention the effect of rising prices and the cost of living on sales volumes, data for September 2022 are also affected by the bank holiday for the State Funeral of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, when many retailers closed.

Sales of e-commerce fell 3 percent but were 18 percent above February 2020 levels, with over one quarter (26.4 percent) of all purchases taking place online.

Clothing stores sales volumes rose by 0.1 percent in September 2022 mainly because of growth in footwear stores. Jewellery stores reported a monthly fall in sales volumes of 0.7 percent, while department stores fell by 0.6 percent.

On Thursday the ONS published the latest data from its Business Insights and Conditions survey which was live from 3 to 16 October 2022.

Tough times ahead

26 percent of trading businesses said turnover had decreased in September 2022 compared with August 2022. In early October 2022, 35 percent of trading businesses reported economic uncertainty was having an impact on their turnover; while 21 percent said they expect their turnover to decrease in November 2022.

For the same time period, 41 percent of businesses reported they had either no cash reserves (13 percent) or had three months or less (28 percent). This is the highest percentage reported since late June 2021.

Article source: ONS statistical bulletin, Retail sales; Great Britain: September 2022

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