Retail sales down for fourth month
By Richard Wright | 17th September 2021
Retail sales fell for the fourth month in a row after a gloomy summer for sales.
On the positive side, analysis suggested that people had returned to eating out in pubs and restaurants.
Data from the Office for National Statistics showed that retail sales fell 0.9% in August, after a slump of 2.8% in July.
Economists had been forecasting a recovery in August, so the figures are disappointing, as employers grappled with shortages and supply chain issues, as well as staff off through Covid alerts.
Food store sales dropped by 1.2%, while non-food sales fell by 1%. Sales of clothing rose by 0.7% as people returned to the office.
The percentage of online sales increased from 27.1% in July to 27.7% in August.
Jonathan Athow, ONS Deputy National Statistician for Economic Statistics, said: "Sales fell again in August, though not nearly as much as in July and, overall, remained above their pre-pandemic level.
"Other data suggest that the drop in food stores' sales is linked to an increase in eating out following the lifting of coronavirus restrictions.
"Meanwhile motor fuel sales increased on the month as people ventured out more, but they remained below pre-pandemic levels."
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