Breaking News
Investing Pro 0
Cyber Monday SALE: Up to 54% OFF InvestingPro+ CLAIM OFFER

UK July retail sales drop amid soccer frenzy and COVID 'pingdemic'

Economic Indicators Aug 20, 2021 05:31AM ET
Saved. See Saved Items.
This article has already been saved in your Saved Items
 
2/2 © Reuters. A shopper walks down the street in London, Britain December 18, 2020. REUTERS/Hannah Mckay 2/2

By William Schomberg and Andy Bruce

LONDON (Reuters) -British retail sales unexpectedly fell in July, official data showed on Friday, suggesting at least some consumers skipped shopping to follow England's run in the Euro 2020 soccer tournament, or stayed at home due to rising COVID-19 cases.

Retailers reported that the tournament - in which England reached the final - and bad weather kept shoppers away from stores, the Office for National Statistics said.

Sales volumes fell by 2.5% from June, the biggest drop since January when Britain returned to lockdown. Economists polled by Reuters had expected a 0.4% month-on-month rise.

An ONS official said there had been no feedback from retailers that worries about rising coronavirus cases were behind the drop in sales.

But analysts said the size of the fall probably reflected the impact of the fast-spreading Delta variant and the requirement for hundreds of thousands of people to isolate after being "pinged" by a government tracing app.

"July's sharp decline in retail sales can be blamed largely on rising COVID-19 cases, which prompted some households to steer clear of shops and forced others into self-isolation," said Samuel Tombs, an economist with Pantheon Macroeconomics.

The self-isolation requirement for contacts of someone with COVID-19 has now been dropped for people who have had two vaccinations.

The ONS said food store sales were down by 1.5%, reflecting a jump in June and the opening of more hospitality venues. Non-food stores reported a fall of 4.4%, though sales remained 5.8% above their pre-pandemic levels in February 2020.

In a possible sign of renewed caution among shoppers, or July's bad weather, online sales rose to 27.9% of total spending after hitting a pandemic low in June.

Earlier this month, Barclaycard said its data for July showed a jump in entertainment spending as people returned to cinemas, theatres and sports events.

BOUNCE-BACK SLOWS

Britain's economy has recovered most of its nearly 10% slump in 2020 when the country suffered one of the world's heaviest coronavirus death tolls and stayed locked down for longer than many other European nations.

But there are signs that the bounce-back has slowed after a strong March and April as restrictions began to be lifted.

An opinion poll published on Friday by market research firm GfK showed consumer confidence dipped only slightly in August from its highest level since before the pandemic.

But it also showed consumers were less willing to make major purchases and were opting to save more money.

The recovery in the economy has also helped finance minister Rishi Sunak to reduce the government's huge borrowing.

The ONS said the budget deficit in the first four months of the 2021/22 financial year was running 26 billion pounds ($35.43 billion) below an estimate set out by the Office for Budget Responsibility, the government's forecaster, in March.

July's borrowing of 10.4 billion pounds was less than a median forecast of 11.8 billion pounds in the Reuters poll.

Sunak is on course to spend a total of 350 billion pounds in his response to the coronavirus crisis, but his jobs subsidies programme, the most expensive element, is being wound down.

The deficit in July also narrowed thanks to higher tax receipts as individuals filed tax returns before a deadline.

The Institute for Fiscal Studies, a think tank, said the deficit remained huge at 10.8% of economic output in the 12 months to July, more than four times its historic average, and would probably require "very difficult decisions" when Sunak gives a half-yearly update on the public finances on Oct. 27.

($1 = 0.7339 pounds)

UK July retail sales drop amid soccer frenzy and COVID 'pingdemic'
 

Related Articles

Australia retail sales unexpectedly fall in October
Australia retail sales unexpectedly fall in October By Investing.com - Nov 27, 2022

By Ambar Warrick Investing.com-- Australian retail sales fell for the first time this year in October, data showed on Monday, as rising inflation and elevated interest rates now...

Add a Comment

Comment Guidelines

We encourage you to use comments to engage with other users, share your perspective and ask questions of authors and each other. However, in order to maintain the high level of discourse we’ve all come to value and expect, please keep the following criteria in mind:  

  •            Enrich the conversation, don’t trash it.

  •           Stay focused and on track. Only post material that’s relevant to the topic being discussed. 

  •           Be respectful. Even negative opinions can be framed positively and diplomatically. Avoid profanity, slander or personal attacks directed at an author or another user. Racism, sexism and other forms of discrimination will not be tolerated.

  • Use standard writing style. Include punctuation and upper and lower cases. Comments that are written in all caps and contain excessive use of symbols will be removed.
  • NOTE: Spam and/or promotional messages and comments containing links will be removed. Phone numbers, email addresses, links to personal or business websites, Skype/Telegram/WhatsApp etc. addresses (including links to groups) will also be removed; self-promotional material or business-related solicitations or PR (ie, contact me for signals/advice etc.), and/or any other comment that contains personal contact specifcs or advertising will be removed as well. In addition, any of the above-mentioned violations may result in suspension of your account.
  • Doxxing. We do not allow any sharing of private or personal contact or other information about any individual or organization. This will result in immediate suspension of the commentor and his or her account.
  • Don’t monopolize the conversation. We appreciate passion and conviction, but we also strongly believe in giving everyone a chance to air their point of view. Therefore, in addition to civil interaction, we expect commenters to offer their opinions succinctly and thoughtfully, but not so repeatedly that others are annoyed or offended. If we receive complaints about individuals who take over a thread or forum, we reserve the right to ban them from the site, without recourse.
  • Only English comments will be allowed.

Perpetrators of spam or abuse will be deleted from the site and prohibited from future registration at Investing.com’s discretion.

Write your thoughts here
 
Are you sure you want to delete this chart?
 
Post
Post also to:
 
Replace the attached chart with a new chart ?
1000
Your ability to comment is currently suspended due to negative user reports. Your status will be reviewed by our moderators.
Please wait a minute before you try to comment again.
Thanks for your comment. Please note that all comments are pending until approved by our moderators. It may therefore take some time before it appears on our website.
Comments (3)
Kit Ali
Kit Ali Aug 21, 2021 11:26AM ET
Saved. See Saved Items.
This comment has already been saved in your Saved Items
UK economy has been on a slow decline since the 08 crash...things are just accelerating now....remote work has already killed the London economy...which is a good thing who wants to commute into a dirty city when you can live on the coast at a fraction of the cost of London
Jouni Matero
Jouni Aug 20, 2021 5:48AM ET
Saved. See Saved Items.
This comment has already been saved in your Saved Items
Soccer, lol. Joke of the year to blame Soccer.
Green Mango
Green Mango Aug 20, 2021 2:48AM ET
Saved. See Saved Items.
This comment has already been saved in your Saved Items
Oh yea, blame it on football and not the virus hysteria
 
Are you sure you want to delete this chart?
 
Post
 
Replace the attached chart with a new chart ?
1000
Your ability to comment is currently suspended due to negative user reports. Your status will be reviewed by our moderators.
Please wait a minute before you try to comment again.
Add Chart to Comment
Confirm Block

Are you sure you want to block %USER_NAME%?

By doing so, you and %USER_NAME% will not be able to see any of each other's Investing.com's posts.

%USER_NAME% was successfully added to your Block List

Since you’ve just unblocked this person, you must wait 48 hours before renewing the block.

Report this comment

I feel that this comment is:

Comment flagged

Thank You!

Your report has been sent to our moderators for review
Continue with Google
or
Sign up with Email