UK retail sales drop as Brexit-fuelled inflation bites

14:52 | 25/10/2017 Global Economy

British retail sales fell more than expected in September, official data showed last Thursday, against a backdrop of rising prices largely caused by a Brexit-hit pound.

Shoppers pictured with their bags outside a Primark store in central London last month - Photo: AFP

"September's retail sales saw a monthly decline of 0.8 per cent, reversing August's growth," said Kate Davies, senior statistician at the Office for National Statistics.

"However, there is a continuation of the underlying trend of steady growth in sales volumes following a weak start to the year, and a background of generally rising prices," she added.

Analysts' consensus forecast had been for a 0.1-per cent drop in retail sales in September following an increase of 0.9 per cent in August.

British inflation has picked up sharply in recent months as a Brexit-hit pound raised import costs.

That, in turn, has increased the likelihood of the Bank of England raising interest rates next month, according to analysts.

"Five-year high inflation combined with slow wage growth has consumers feeling the pinch," said UFX.com analyst Dennis de Jong.

"With Brexit top of the agenda for the foreseeable future, Britain's high streets may well be relying on a Christmas rush to kick start the sector," he said.

Theo VietnamInvestmentReview/AFP