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UK retail sales slides as warm September deters Autumn shoppers

Shoppers in Gunwharf Quays shopping Mall in Portsmouth, Hampshire, UK

Retail sales in the UK dropped more than expected in September due to unseasonably warm weather.

Which meant shoppers avoided purchasing autumn clothing, causing sales volumes for clothing to be down by 1.6 percent in September.

This coupled with the increasing cost-of-living squeezes, contributed to an overall economic contraction in the third quarter.

Read More: Health And Beauty Spending Boosts UK Retail Sales In August

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) reported a 0.9 percent fall in overall retail sales volumes for September, following a 0.4 percent increase in August. 

This decline surpassed the 0.2 percent decrease economists had predicted in a Reuters poll.


Grant Fitzner, ONS Chief Economist, said: "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."

The UK experienced its joint-hottest September on record last month.

Read More: July’s Soggy Weather Dampens Retail Sales In The UK

Across the third quarter, sales volumes declined by 0.8 percent, marking the most substantial drop since the three months ending in February. 

This decrease was amplified by an exceptionally wet July, disrupting typical summer spending patterns.

The ONS indicated that the weak retail performance will likely trim quarterly gross domestic product (GDP) growth by 0.04 percentage points.

Which is substantial given the modest 0.2 percent GDP growth in the second quarter.

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Thomas Pugh, an economist at accountants RSM UK, said: "The sharp fall in retail sales in September makes it increasingly likely that GDP flatlined or even fell in September. 

“That would mean that GDP as a whole contracted in Q3."

Following the release of this data, the British pound slightly weakened against the US dollar.

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