More UK Shoppers Move Online As Retail Sales Slump

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The Brits are shopping less than usual this year — and when they do, it’s usually online.

Retail sales in the United Kingdom fell by 0.8 percent since August, newly-released data from London’s Office for National Statistics revealed. Annual growth also declined to 1.5 percent over the last three months, both numbers lower than most analysts expected.

Stores that sell non-food items such as clothes and technology saw the greatest decrease in sales. In general, sales growth in the most recent quarter was the slimmest since 2013. Meanwhile, product prices continued to rise — reaching, at 3.3 percent, their highest growth by year since 2012.

The only type of sales to see a significant surge came from the online sector, with online shopping jumping by 14 percent. In total, online sales accounted for 17 percent of all retail sales in the UK.

“September’s retail sales saw a monthly decline of 0.8 percent, reversing August’s growth,” Kate Davis, a senior statistician at the ONS said in a statement. “However, there is a continuation of the underlying trend of steady growth in sales volumes following a weak start to the year, and a background of generally rising prices.”

Others speculated that factors such as the general decline of retail, rising popularity of online shopping, and a declining pound currency in the wake of Brexit uncertainty all contributed to these less-than-stellar sales.