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UK Retail Sales Slowed Further In July

News that the value of retail sales in the UK rose by just 1.7% in July, compared to the same period last year, shows how difficult the high street is proving for traders. This is the third lowest rise since the spring of 2006 and shows that the UK seems to be heading for a slow drawn out recession.

The figure for July is down on June, which was 2.1%, and well down on what turned out to be a very strange month of May, with retail sales growing by a bizarre 4.6% in the face of a slowdown. We now seem to be on a path towards a serious slowdown on the high street and with UK base rates unlikely to fall in the foreseeable future the next few months could get much worse.

The Bank of England will be taking a close interest in retail sales as they are a vital element of the UK economy and should give a pointer to the immediate future. Inflation is still rampant but interest rates can neither fall to refloat the economy nor rise to combat inflation, leaving the Bank of England very much in limbo. It is near impossible to guess when the UK economy will bottom out but it now looks as far away as it ever has been.

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