By Jonathan Davies

The volume of retail sales in the UK were up 3.9% in August, compared with the same period last year, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

The ONS said August saw a 0.4% rise compared with July.

Electrical appliances were a big contributor to the increase, with sales of high-powered vacuum cleaners particularly strong. It came ahead of an EU ruling which banned the sale of such vacuum cleaners.

Prices at food stores were down 0.1%, the first fall since December 2004.

Keith Richardson, Managing Director Retail Sector at Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking, said: “After several months of faltering sales retailers will be heartened by these positive figures. The end of the school holidays proved a much needed fillip as retailers benefited from the rush to buy uniforms, stationery and small electronics items ahead of the new school term.

“The launch of autumn footwear and fashion ranges persuaded many shoppers to spruce up their wardrobes and helped to deliver a strong performance across both of these categories.

“The trend of falling food sales is now firmly entrenched and shows little signs of changing. In their attempts to regain market share lost to discounters, the established supermarket chains continue to pursue a price led strategy based on heavy discounting and this is now impacting both food and non-food sales. While this is good news for consumers, a reduction in the value of goods sold will continue to have a lag effect on total retail sales during the forthcoming months.


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