If you want a sudden surge in sales, ask the European Union to impose new restrictions on a product. Up to the day the new law comes into effect, sales go through the roof. This is what happened to UK vacuum cleaner sales with the new European restrictions on powerful electrical appliances.
The new EU energy-saving regulations banning shops from selling high-powered vacuum cleaners, i.e. with more than 1,600 watts, came into effect on August 31. New restrictions on electric kettles and hairdryers will come early next year.
August retail sales by volume (including vehicle fuel) in the UK were 0.4% up from the previous month, according to figures published by the Office for National Statistics (ONS). Compared to August 2013, retail sales increased by 3.9%.
August posted the 17th consecutive month of year-on-year retail sales growth, and the 18th successive month of rolling 3-months on 3-months growth.
August retail sales by total amount of money spent rose 0.2% in August from the previous month and 2.7% compared to August last year.
Household goods sales by volume grew by 12.7% compared to August last year, the largest year-on-year gain since October 2001 (16.2%).
Furniture stores registered a gain of 23.4% in sales in August from August 2013, the largest increase since records began (1988).
Electrical appliance store retailers had a booming month (the ONS did not provide statistics), reporting a huge surge in vacuum cleaner sales.
According to the EU, high-powered vacuum cleaners (more than 1600w) waste too much energy.
Store prices down
Prices of goods in shops, however, declined by 1.2% in August from August 2013, the largest drop in five years.
Gasoline prices at filling stations fell 5% compared to August 2013, the main contributor to the drop in retail prices.
Food stores posted a more moderate decline in prices, of 0.1%, the first annual fall since 2004.
Online sales volume as a proportion of total retail transactions declined by 0.2 of a percentage point to 11% in August. However, as a proportion of total spending online sales grew by 8.3% year-on-year.