LONDON (Reuters) – British retail sales unexpectedly fell on the month in August after shoppers bought less online than the month before when major sales promotions encouraged them to splash out, official figures showed on Thursday.
But the figures gave little obvious sign that either the possibility of a no-deal Brexit on Oct. 31 or a fall in sterling over the summer had dealt a major blow to consumer spending, which has solidly supported British growth in recent years.
Sales - Volumes - % - Office - National
Monthly retail sales volumes dipped by 0.2%, the Office for National Statistics said, compared with an average forecast for a flat reading in a Reuters poll of economists and the first fall in three months.
The category of ‘non-store retailing’ – predominantly online sales dropped by 3.2%, the biggest decline since August 2015 and a month after Amazon held its annual ‘Prime Day’ promotion which helped boost sales by 7.6% the previous month.
August - Sales - % - Growth - %
Compared with August 2018, sales were up by 2.7%, slowing from growth of 3.4% in July and again the weakest since May. The Reuters poll had pointed to annual sales growth of 2.9%.
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