Online shopping drives retail sales growth to ten-year high

Retail sales growth has soared to a ten-year high
Retail sales growth has soared to a ten-year high
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Retail sales rose at their strongest yearly rate in more than a decade in October as shoppers bought winter clothes and supermarkets reported a successful Halloween.

Sales were 7.4 per cent higher than the same month last year, the fastest year-on-year growth since April 2002, Office for National Statistics figures show.

Online sales were at their strongest for five years, proving consumers remained eager to shop despite uncertainty over the potential fallout from Brexit.

ONS senior statistician Kate Davies said: “The strong figures this month have been boosted by several factors.

“Cooler temperatures in October boosted clothing sales as shoppers took their cue to purchase winter clothing, while the supermarkets benefited from Halloween.

“This has also coincided with the strongest growth in internet sales seen for five years.”

The underlying pattern in the retail industry continues to show “strong growth” following the 34th consecutive period of three-month-on-three-month growth, the ONS said.

Average store prices, including petrol stations, fell by 0.7 per cent in October compared with a year ago – the smallest decrease since July 2014.

The amount spent in the retail industry increased by 6.6 per cent compared with October last year and was up by 2.1 per cent compared with September. The amount spent online increased by 26.8 per cent compared with October last year and by 1.3 per cent compared with September 2016.

Chris Williamson, chief business economist at IHS Markit, said: “UK retailers enjoyed a mini-boom in October. Sales volumes showed the largest gain for just over 14 years, but such spending is looking increasingly unsustainable as inflation is likely to rear its head.”