Belfast Telegraph

High street sales grow for first time since January

The UK high street has seen its first sales growth since January as consumers spent freely, boosted by low unemployment and encouraging post-referendum figures.

BDO's High Street Sales Tracker recorded year-on-year growth of 0.7% for October, ending a nine-month run of falls that began with a 1.7% drop in February.

Homeware sales grew by 11.6% last month and lifestyle goods were up 2.3%, while non-store sales recovered to a 19.5% increase from the 12.6% posted in September.

However, fashion continued to struggle in the unseasonably warm weather, with like-for-like sales in negative figures for three out of five weeks, and the overall fall of 0.9% was still the best month since January.

BDO said the return to growth was a "huge boost" to stores as they head into the crucial Christmas period.

It said consumers had been spending "with a freedom not seen since the January sales" on the back of low unemployment and encouraging figures from the post-referendum economy.

Sophie Michael, head of retail and wholesale at BDO, said: "Shoppers have reminded everyone of their resilience and this result provides a promising start to a crucial trading quarter.

"Prices will inevitably rise next year in the context of the falling pound, but right now people are remarkably upbeat about their finances."

The positive result comes after the CBI reported that its retail sales balance jumped to plus 21% in October, and the ONS also reported that overall UK retail sales are continuing to grow, up by 4.1% in September.

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