Retail sales increased by almost 3% in August. Excluding fuel, total sales volumes increased by over 4%. DIY led the charge. B&Q and others benefited, with DIY sales up by 20%. Garden centres were blooming. Green fingers tapped the tills with a 17% increase in horticultural goods year on year
The public was drinking less apparently. Alcohol sales were down by 6% compared. Alternative medicine provided some relief. Chemist sales were up by 44% and medical goods were up by 17%.
The upturn in the housing market, boosted sales of white goods and floor coverings. Pride in appearance appeared to take a back seat. Sales of clothing, cosmetics and footwear were down over 15%. Watches and jewellery sales were down by 12% in the month.
The surge in online sales continued. The year on year growth was over 50% accounting for 28% of all retail transactions. Online food sales were up by 90% year on year, accounting for 10% of all food action. The pressure on retail continues.
John Lewis announced the closure of four more Waitrose stores this week. In July the company revealed, that eight John Lewis stores would close, including the flagship Birmingham store. Online sales increased by 73% within the group. Radical restructuring will continue within the retail sector.
Book sales were up by 18%. Analysts must have been rushing for the textbooks as the Bank of England suggested it was reviewing once again the possibility of negative interest rates. The MPC decided to maintain the level of interest rates at 0.1% for the moment. Inflation CPI basis slipped to 0.2% in August. The Eat Out to Help Out scheme explained some of the price discount. A stronger Sterling and a weaker oil price undoubtedly helped.
Music sales slipped by 8% as streaming services continued to increase share. A neat segue to point out you can now get The Saturday Economist as a Podcast, available on Apple, Google, Amazon, Spotify and more. Check out the details below ...
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