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UK retail sales up

The British Retail Consortium today reported an increase of 2.8% in August sales compared to the same period last year. However, when you strip out new store openings the rise is a less flattering 1% and would seem to indicate that the UK economy is starting to cool. When you also take into account the fact that parents buying goods for their children going back to school will also have boosted the figure, perhaps we need to wake up and smell the coffee?

There is no doubt that more and more people are now holding off major spending commitments in the short to medium term until they see the impact of tax rises and public-sector investment cuts on the UK economy and the jobs market. However, very quickly this reluctance to spend in the short-term can become something of a self-fulfilling prophecy and lead to panic across the consumer market.

Many also believe that the corresponding period last year was a relatively weak retail market therefore like for like comparisons may well be a little more flattering than they should be. UK retailers will now be hoping that consumer confidence does not collapse in the short-term ahead of Christmas because this could see more businesses struggling to survive.

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