Retail sales figures - PwC chief economist comments

Published at 10:36 AM on 25 April 2014

In response to ONS UK retail sales figures released today, John Hawksworth, PwC’s chief economist, said:

"Retail sales volumes edged up only slightly between February and March, but these monthly data are always volatile. A better indication of the positive underlying trend is that retail sales volumes in the first quarter of 2014 were up by 3.8% on the same period a year earlier, and by 0.8% on the previous quarter.

“Retail sales volumes are now more than 4% higher than their pre-recession peak, with almost all of this growth having come over the past year. By contrast, real GDP is still slightly below its pre-recession peak, although catching up fast. This shows that retail sales have been at the leading edge of the broader economic recovery.

“This has been helped by a move into mild deflation in the retail sector, with average prices in Q1 2014 down by 0.1% on a year earlier.  Strong competition, driven by rising online sales and demanding consumers, has helped to keep prices down, together with a stronger pound over the past year and less upward pressure from global commodity prices than in some earlier periods.

“With average earnings growing by 1.7% over the past year, the real retail spending power of households has been picking up, which is important for the longer term sustainability of the consumer recovery."

Ends

 

Gill Carson
PwC | Media Relations Manager
Office: 020 7212 1391 | Mobile: 07837 285466
Email: [email protected]
PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP
twitter: @gill_carson
http://www.pwc.com/

 


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