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Financial News: U.K. Retail Sales Fall At Fastest Pace Since

U.K. Retail Sales Fall At Fastest Pace Since 2012

01/20/2017 - 06:26:00 (RTTNews)

(RTTNews) - U.K. retail sales declined at the fastest pace in more than four years in December as consumers minimized their spending amid rising inflation.

Retail sales volume including auto fuel fell 1.9 percent from November, when it dropped by a marginal 0.1 percent, the Office for National Statistics said Friday.

This was bigger than the expected 0.1 percent drop and the largest fall since April 2012.

Excluding auto fuel, retail sales decreased 2 percent, the first drop in three months, after rising 0.2 percent. Economists had forecast a 0.4 percent fall for December.

Both food and non-food store sales slid 0.5 percent and 2.6 percent, respectively.

On a yearly basis, growth in retail sales slowed to a 3-month low of 4.3 percent from 5.7 percent in November. The annual rate stayed below the expected 7.2 percent.

Likewise, excluding auto fuel, sales growth came in at 4.9 percent, slower than November's 6.4 percent increase and forecast of 7.5 percent.

Data showed that average store prices gained 0.9 percent in December, the largest annual growth since December 2013. Online sales had surged 21.3 percent.

In the fourth quarter, retail sales logged a notable 5.6 percent annual growth and 1.2 percent sequential increase.

Kate Davies, ONS senior statistician said, "Retailers saw a strong end to 2016 with sales in the final quarter up 5.6 percent on the same period last year, although the amount bought fell between November and December once the effects of Christmas are removed."

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