• September retail sales volumes up 0.6% on the month, up 0.6% on the year

Commenting on the retail sales figures for September published today by the ONS, David Kern, Chief Economist at the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC), said:
“The retail sales figures were better than expected, although longer-term comparisons still indicate a flat picture. While the figures confirm the squeeze on disposable incomes precludes significant growth in consumer spending, they do not support fears of an imminent recession.

“But we mustn’t be complacent. The difficult international situation, the government’s austerity measures, and high inflation will continue to put pressure on businesses and consumers and we have to accept that economic growth will remain weak in the next few quarters.

“At the same time, there is no need for undue pessimism. While the government must persevere with efforts aimed at reducing the budget deficit, more must be done to reallocate priorities within the overall fiscal plan. Growth-supporting measures must be given greater priority both by the government and the MPC so that businesses can create jobs, invest and export.”