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."



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



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