By Daniel Hunter
Figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) have shown that retail sales grew by 0.6% in September compared with the previous month.
This is positive news following an unexpected fall in August. The ONS also said sales volumes had risen by 2.2% compared with September 2012, despite a fall of sales in supermarkets.
The retail sales figures are based on a monthly survey of 5,000 UK retailers. The performance of the retail industry is seen as an indicator of the wider economy and the strength of consumer spending.
Furniture sales provided the biggest driver for the monthly rise in sales, owing to a pick-up in the housing market. Sales volumes in household goods stores grew by 3%.
“Improving sales in September chart returning confidence amongst consumers and a renewed willingness to spend," Keith Richardson, Retail Sector Lead at Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking, said.
“After a more challenging August, these figures provide a boost ahead of the vital festive period, which most retailers expect to be the strongest in terms of sales since before the start of the financial crisis.
“In preparation for the run-up to Christmas retailers are focusing on the breadth and quality of their ranges to support shoppers that are willing to spend but continue to be highly selective in their purchases.
“We’ve recently seen high street names launching own-brand products, such as tablets, in new markets to boost sales in the run-up to Christmas. We could see more of this type of diversification over the next few months.”
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