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Strong economic indicators continue: Britain’s shopping habits

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Strong economic indicators continue: Britain’s shopping habits

Another positive figure announced to boost confidence about the UK economy, as the Office of National Statistics reported a 1.1% increase in retail sales of consumer goods in July. the figure is a 0.8% increase from the June figure of a meagre 0.3% in the summer quarter. Blame it on the weather, as the boost in sales came from an increase in quantities sold of sun cream, outdoor items and food to go over the grills.

Compared to July last year, the jump is a robust 3%, being the strongest annual rise since 2011. This good news comes with the worry about where the money is coming. With inflation growing steadily, wages have dropped marginally in real terms, making consumer goods less affordable. It is not uncommon to see a dip in sales in a quarter where an unemployment targeting monetary policy is announced, with a booming housing market.

There is a strong possibility, therefore, that the purchases are being made on interest bearing money (credit) which will be paid off on the next pay day, or few. Whether or not this is the case may affect sales in the coming few months, which will offset July’s good news. Christmas being just around the corner, this situation may not scare retailers as much as it would have an affect on traders, as market expectations are readily formed taking into account such risk.

Otherwise Britain, or the weather, has done a good job to retain its holidaymakers this year. Figures on foreign visits by UK residents released yesterday for June showed a decline from the 6.1m to 5.9m this year. It is expected that the decline should be even larger in July as temperatures at record highs this year encouraged people to spend their weekends on coastal cities.

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