Retail sales growth hits new low

Retail Sales

Retail sales growth in September slowed to its lowest level since April 2006, according to new figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

Retail Sales

The research revealed sales growth in the third quarter of 2008 was only 2.3% higher than the same period in 2007 — the lowest percentage increase since April 2006. The survey also found that sales growth was only 0.1% higher in the third quarter of this year, than the second quarter.

According to the ONS, the slowdown been driven by a drop in spending on household goods, clothing and footwear. However, they pointed out that small retailers are doing better than large retailers at present.

“Generally speaking, small businesses have seen stronger annual growth than large businesses in September 2008,” said an ONS spokesman, but was unable to elaborate on the reasons for this.

However, the British Retail Consortium’s (BRC) director general Stephen Robertson disagreed.

“The claim that small retailers are doing dramatically better than larger ones is hard to believe. But we agree with the ONS that overall sales growth is slowing and conditions are toughening for customers and retailers as the crucial run–up to Christmas begins,”

“People are worried about job prospects and financial turbulence, and therefore are spending less, so it is likely the slow in sales growth will continue,” he added. “It’s misleading to suggest that small businesses are doing better than large ones — that is not the way the economy works.”

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