The U.K.’s Office for National Statistics reported on Friday (Oct. 23) that retail sales volumes rose by 1.5 percent in September in contrast to August, marking the fifth straight month of expansion, according to a statistical bulletin.
Non-food shops have made a recovery at 1.7 percent higher than their February levels, while attire sales volumes remained 12.7 percent under February. In addition, fuel sales volumes remained 8.6 percent under February.
“As lockdown eased, we saw an increase in travel and the quantity of fuel bought. However, as many people remained working at home and with certain restrictions still in place, fuel sales were yet to fully recover,” the office said in the bulletin.
Home improvement sales kept performing well in September, with higher sales in household items and garden merchandise in “other” non-food shops.
Retail sales volumes grew by 17.4 percent in the three months concluding in September in contrast to the prior three months. “This is the biggest quarterly increase on record as sales picked up from record-low levels experienced earlier in the year,” the office said in the bulletin.
The news comes as retail sales volumes in the U.K. increased by 0.8 percent in August in comparison to July, marking the fourth consecutive month of growth at the time.
“Volume sales within non-store retailing increased sharply in April and May, and sales in August were 38.9 percent higher than February 2020. This was driven by a shift to online orders during lockdown because of temporary store closures for non-essential stores,” the office said in a September release.
Total retail sales volumes in August were 4 percent above February. Verticals that exceeded February’s pre-pandemic levels were household goods, non-store retailing, food stores and other non-food retailing.
Retail sales values in August increased by 0.7 percent in comparison to July and 2.5 percent in comparison to February.
Home improvement spending remained higher in August as sales volumes in household goods stores climbed 9.9 percent compared to February.