Retail sales dip in August amid drop in online shopping

A healthy retail period dipped in August as UK shoppers bought fewer goods than in July, figures show.

Retail sales fell by 0.2% month on month following a 0.4% increase in July, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) reported.

The ONS said non-store retailing was the “largest contributor to the fall, partially offsetting the strong growth reported last month for this sector”.

Online sales as a proportion of all retailing fell to 19.7% from the 19.9% reported in July.

Three-monthly figures, however, show “moderate” sales growth of 0.6%.

Year on year, sales grew by 2.7% in August, down from 3.4% in July.

The ONS said this was “a slowdown compared to the stronger growth experienced earlier in the year which peaked at 6.7% in March”.

Philipp Gutzwiller, head of retail at Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking, said: “These figures reflect the broader gloom, yet UK retailers are pushing through with relative gusto as they prepare for the busiest trading period of the year.

“Mid-tier retailers may be among the first to feel the extra pinch should the economy show further signs of slowing.

“In the meantime, many have already adjusted their ranges to narrow choice but protect margins as they seek to cater for evolving demand in the coming months.”

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