Retail sales fall in August as shoppers watch the Olympics
UK retail sales fell in August as consumers stayed at home to watch the Olympic Games on television instead of shopping.
Figures released by the Office for National Statistics revealed that sales volumes including fuel were down 0.2% last month compared to July. However when compared to August 2011 sales volumes rose by 2.7%. Excluding fuel, sales volumes were down 0.3% from July and up 3.1% from the same month a year earlier.
Online sales fell 6.7% from July and made up 8.1% of all retail sales in August excluding fuel. This is less than the 9% in July 2012 and the lowest proportion since August 2011 when the figure was 7.8%. The ONS said feedback from online retailers suggested that sales were lower as consumers watched the Olympics instead of shopping online.
Food sales rose 0.2% in August from July while clothing, textile and footwear sales grew 1.6%.
Sales in the "other stores" category, which includes sporting equipment and games, rose 1.5% in August from July and was up 7.9% from August 2011. The ONS said sales were boosted by an increase in sales of football shirts with the start of the new season and the European Championship but also from increased sales driven by the Olympics.
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