|Shopping on Oxford Street, London
UK retail sales were up 1.3% on a like-for-like basis from August 2013, when they had increased 1.8% on the preceding year. On a total basis, sales were up 2.7%, against a 3.6% rise in August 2013. This is the best performance since January, excluding Easter distortions.
The British Retail Consortium's monthly survey showed growth was driven by Clothing & Footwear, which reported its fastest rate since December 2011. Meanwhile, Food was the worst performing category with a new record low three-month average decline.
Over the last three months, Food showed a decline of 1.6%, in contrast of 0.1% growth experienced over the last twelve months. Non-Food reported growth of 3.9% over the three months to August 2014, in line with its twelve-month average.
Online sales of non-food products in the UK grew 19.8% in August versus a year earlier, the highest online growth on record. The Non-Food online penetration rate was 16.5% in August, 1.7 percentage point higher than in August 2013.
Helen Dickinson, director general, British Retail Consortium, said: "Consumers are still taking advantage of record low food inflation. The strength of the economy is not yet consistent across all areas of the country and shop prices fell in August. For retailers the challenge in these circumstances is to ensure continued investment in digital innovation, the physical retail space and job creation."