August retail sales in the UK has remained unchanged from the previous month’s figures, even as the Office for National Statistics
(ONS) revised to lower numbers the annual figure for July.
According to the ONS, consumer demand has remained lackluster in August, with food sales falling for the month.
There was a 0.8% increase in year-on-year sales figures, which was the weakest since May. Meanwhile, July’s initial 0.3% decline was revised to a larger figure of 0.6%.
But a glimmer of optimism lies in the underlying growth in the quarter rose by 0.8%. This was the highest posted figure since November.
Businesses at High Street are reporting rough trading for the past few months.
This lackluster figures reflect the general sentiments of consumers who are staying away from retailers amid concerns about the recent developments in the housing market and the fears of a long-term weak economic growth and rising fuel prices.
Other analysts are also saying that the figures could also reflect that tourists are staying away especially in the usually hectic August period – most probably scared away by the recent London bombing last July.
Company formation and business solutions professionals are hoping that the flat retail figures may spur the Bank of England to finally cut interest rates once again as a way to finally stimulate more consumer spending. The rate is currently pegged at 4.5%. Current economic data can give the Bank some elbow room for an interest rate cut because the year-on-year inflation rate remains at 1.7% despite oil prices pushing August inflation figures to 2.4%.