Why colder weather and Halloween have led to strong retail growth


While many analysts had predicted that post-Brexit inflation fears would lead to a slowdown in the retail sector, latest figures show retail sales volumes taking a leap.
The surprise increase has led to hopes that the British economy will finish 2016 on a high.
Colder weather led to consumers heading out to buy winter clothes following a stagnant sales period as a result of mild autumn temperatures. Supermarkets also saw positive trade during the Halloween period as the once-American holiday has become a stronger tradition in the UK.
UK retail sales figures saw their fastest annual growth rate for 14 years during October as a result.
It would appear that households are unfazed by June’s referendum vote as they continued to increase their spending during October, while retail sales volumes were up by 7.4 per cent compared to the previous year.
The figures were well above the 5.3 per cent which had been predicted by economists, and indicated the strongest growth since 2002.
However, analysts have warned that sustained growth is unlikely.
Number crunchers at the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said there were a number of reasons behind October’s positive figures.
Senior statistician Kate Davies said:“Cooler temperatures in October boosted clothing sales as shoppers took their cue to purchase winter clothing, while the supermarkets benefited from Halloween. This has also coincided with the strongest growth in internet sales seen for five years.”
The sales increase was seen across of types of retailers in the sector, but the biggest increases were enjoyed by internet-only retailers, mail order firms and market stalls.
The average weekly online spend was £1 billion, which is a huge increase of 26.8 per cent compared with October last year.
Meanwhile, a different set of data, from the online retail trade body IMRG pointed towards particularly strong growth for home goods, with spending on these products up by nearly a quarter compared to the previous year.
IMRG said this could be down to people becoming more inward looking as a result of the referendum.
A spokesperson said: “This could have been spurred by a deteriorating pound, with people more focused on domestic home improvements rather than spending on holidays abroad – which have become a lot more expensive since the Brexit vote.”
However, most analysts believe that consumers will be forced to tighten their belts as a result of expected inflationary increases next year.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here