Retail sales in September in UK up 6.5% in one year, fueled by Rugby World Cup

Retails sales in the UK were up by 6.5% in September (30 Aug to 3 Oct) compared to the same month in 2014, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) reported in Thursday. Economists say the surge was partly due to extra spending by consumers on alcoholic drinks during the Rugby World Cup hosted in England and Wales and falling store prices.

As the period included the bank holiday weekend at the end of August, the ONS removed its effect from the numbers in order to get a proper seasonal adjustment.

Compared to the previous month, retail sales were up by 1.9%.

Retail Sales UK SepSource: Monthly Business Survey – Retail Sales Inquiry. (Image: Office for National Statistics)

29 months of non-stop growth

September 2015 posted the 29th successive month of expanding retail sales figures. The underlying 3-month on 3-month movement in the quantity of goods bought posted a 0.9% gain.

Average store prices, which include petrol stations, declined by 3.6% in September this year compared to September 2014, the 15th successive month of year-on-year price declines.

Year-on-year, the amount spent in the retail industry rose by 2.7 in September 2015, and by 1.4% compared to August 2015.

Year-on-year online sales value rose by 15.2% in September 2015, and by 4.5% compared to August 2015.

In the five-week reporting period during September this year, the amount spent in the retail industry totaled £35.1 billion.

This compares with

– £27.5 billion for the 4-week reporting period for August 2015,

– £34.2 billion for the 5-week reporting period for September last year.

This equals an average weekly spend of £7 billion in September this year, compared with:

– £6.9 billion in August 2015,

– £6.8 billion in September last year.

UK retail sales growth componentsSource: Monthly Business Survey – Retail Sales Inquiry. (Image adapted from: Office for National Statistics)

Kate Davies, head of retail sales at the ONS, said:

“Falling in-store prices and promotions around the Rugby World Cup are likely to be the main factors why the quantity bought in the retail sector increased in September at the fastest monthly rate seen since December 2013.”

In September this year, for every ₤1 spent in the retail industry:

– 42 pence was spent in non-food stores

– 41 in food stores

– 10 pence in stores selling vehicle fuel

– 7 pence in non-store retailing.

In an interview with Reuters, Ruth Miller, UK economist at Capital Economics, said:

“With strong fundamentals still in place, we are optimistic that the consumer recovery will maintain a strong pace over the rest of the year.”

This is MONEY quoted Ben Perkins, head of consumer business research at Deloitte, who said:

“An increase in spending on groceries brings some relief for food retailers, however, the sales volume data shows that there is still significant deflation in the market due to price competition driven by continued pressure from the discounters.”

Video – UK retail sales boosted by Rugby World Cup