UK retail sales jump as shoppers ignore Brexit-driven price increases

LONDON — Retail sales in the UK jumped during the month of August as Brits continued to spend strongly on non-essential items, looking beyond the price increases brought about by the pound’s post-referendum slump, new data from the ONS shows.

Sales grew by 2.4% on a year-on-year basis, the ONS said, up from just 1.4% in July, and even further ahead of the 1.1% growth that had been forecast by economists polled prior to the release.

On a month-to-month basis, growth was 1%, compared to an expected 0.2%, the data showed.

“Within this month’s retail sales we are seeing strong price increases across all store types compared with a year ago, reflecting wider inflationary pressures,” Kate Davies, a senior statistician at the ONS said.

“However, we are still seeing underlying growth in sales volumes, and with strong growth in non-essential purchases as consumers continued to buy more from non-food stores.”

On a three-monthly basis, the volume bought increased 1.2%.

Three-month retail sales movements are generally seen as more reliable than a single month’s data, which can be volatile, as June’s big jump shows.

Here’s the chart showing the overall retail sales trend:

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