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Retail sales drop in September
20 October 2023

UK retail sales volumes fell by 0.9% in September 2023 against the previous month, according to The Office for National Statistics (ONS).

The fall was heavier than expected, with analysts having predicted a 0.3% decline for September. It came after a 0.4% increase in August.

Non-food stores sales volumes fell by 1.9% in September 2023; retailers reported that the fall over the month was because of continuing cost-of-living pressures, alongside the unseasonably warm weather reducing sales of autumn-wear clothing.

Non-store retailing (predominantly online retailers) sales volumes fell by 2.2% in September, following a fall of 0.9% in August.

Grant Fitzner, ONS chief economist, said: "Retail sales fell notably in September, with retailers telling us that cost-of-living pressures are influencing consumers, particularly for sales of non-essential goods.

"It was a poor month for clothing stores as the warm autumnal conditions reduced sales of colder weather gear. However, September’s unseasonable warmth did help drive up food sales a little, and fuel sales rebounded from last month’s fall."

Helen Dickinson, CEO of the British Retail Consortium, added: "With the ‘golden quarter’ fast approaching, retailers are hopeful that easing inflation we have seen in recent months will boost consumer confidence. Retailers will continue to support customers by bringing prices down wherever they can."

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