UK sees record Q3 retail sales growth on COVID rebound

Credit: REUTERS/TOBY MELVILLE

British retail sales beat expectations last month and grew for a fifth month in a row, capping a record quarter of growth that took total sales volumes to 5.5% above their level before the pandemic.

By David Milliken and Andy Bruce

LONDON, Oct 23 (Reuters) - British retail sales beat expectations last month and grew for a fifth month in a row, capping a record quarter of growth that took total sales volumes to 5.5% above their level before the pandemic.

Retail sales volumes grew by 1.5% in September alone and are 4.7% higher than a year earlier, taking the annual rate above all forecasts in a Reuters poll of economists.

Strong household demand has been the mainstay of Britain's recovery from the initial shock of the coronavirus lockdown, when output contracted by 20%, more than in any other major advanced economy.

Britain's economy is set to record a rapid rebound for the third quarter, and Friday's retail sales data showed a record 17.4% increase in sales volumes for the period.

However, rising coronavirus restrictions are hurting consumer morale and weighing on the broader economy.

"Total consumer spending will probably start to stutter over the next few months as the furlough scheme ends and unemployment rises, despite the increased generosity of the Job Support Scheme," said Thomas Pugh of Capital Economics.

British consumer sentiment fell this month by the most since a slump at the start of the coronavirus pandemic as lockdown restrictions tightened across much of the country, according to a long-running survey published on Friday.

(Reporting by Andy Bruce and David Milliken)

((andy.bruce@thomsonreuters.com; +442075423484; Reuters Messaging: andy.bruce.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net))

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

Reuters

Reuters, the news and media division of Thomson Reuters, is the world’s largest international multimedia news provider reaching more than one billion people every day. Reuters provides trusted business, financial, national, and international news to professionals via Thomson Reuters desktops, the world's media organizations, and directly to consumers at Reuters.com and via Reuters TV.

Learn More