Retail sector holds its own

Retail
sales remain stable despite weaker figures being reported for August than for
July, according to the BRC-KPMG Retail Sales Monitor.

Many
retailers are achieving a good volume of sales, if at low margins, the research
reveals.

Clothing
saw continued marked improvement in sales and summer sale merchandise was still
available in many stores, driving sales in terms of volume but not in value.

On
a like-for-like basis, however, growth in retail sales values had slowed to 5.6
per cent from July’s 6.1 per cent rate.

Director-general
of BRC Bill Moyes said that, overall, the growth in sales value remains healthy
but recognised that the picture is patchy with some areas performing better
than others.

"These
figures provide no evidence that interest rates are too high or that
uncontrolled demand is fuelling inflationary pressures. This is our message to
the MPC when it meets on Wednesday."

Chief
economic adviser to the BRC Bridget Rosewell believes that the rate of growth
is stabilising in retail sales.

She
said, "The Monetary Policy Committee should not be concerned about this
level of sales growth – rather they should act to maintain it, since retail
activity is a bastion against more serious recession. Further rate acts will
support all areas of the economy and should be a priority."

Ben
Willmott

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