Retail sales keep on growing

Today we will hear how non food sales in February fell.  This is to take the British retail Consortium figures of sales for non foods on a like for like basis, adjusting for expansions in shop space. The overall true figure is total sales of all items grew by 0.4% on the month, with food especially strong showing growth of 2%. Non food was affected by a later date for Mothering Sunday delaying purchases compared to last year.

Many shops continue to be pessimistic, as more retail spending takes place on line rather than in shops, and as severe competitive pressures keep down prices.


  1. Denis Cooper
    March 7, 2017

    But wait, Sky News has just discovered a new and superior measure of inflation which confirms what they already thought but could not prove on the official statistics, that the referendum has caused prices to soar so much that real incomes are falling:

    “UK prices rising faster after Brexit vote”

    “Statistics imply that real wages may be falling by 0.6% annually – compared with the 0.9% growth rate indicated by official data.”

    Actually there will be plenty of scope for confusion when the CPIH measure of inflation takes over from CPI as the headline official measure:

    “UK to adopt CPIH as preferred inflation measure in March 2017”

    1. Tad Davison
      March 7, 2017

      That’s not all Denis, the Lib Dem leader, Tim Farron stated on the BBC’s Daily Politics Show (47 minutes 30 seconds – 7th March 2017)

      ‘…….but you cannot have a hard Brexit and a well-funded NHS.’

      Such astounding pearls of wisdom! But did anybody challenge his glib assertion and ask, why’s that then?


      1. Jerry
        March 9, 2017

        @Tad Davison; “Such astounding pearls of wisdom! But did anybody challenge [it]”

        What was there to challenge, it’s an opinion [1], just as unchallengeable as the pearls of wisdom from europhobes, hence why there has been little serious challenge regarding the Vote Leave groups assertion that post (actual) Brexit some £350m per week extra could be spent on the NHS in the UK.

        Seems to me that for far to many, especially on the right, “Fake News” is simply opinion or facts they would prefer not to be in the public domain…

        [1] dependant on how Brexit is ‘costed’, fiscally neutral, positive or negative to the UK

        1. Tad Davison
          March 11, 2017

          I’m perplexed Jerry. Are you saying we are not to challenge an opinion from a ‘leading’ politician that seems to be founded upon nothing at all, that seeks to influence the minds of gullible people?

          Because we’ve had decades of that already, and that’s how the underhanded politicians got us so deeply into the EU the first place.

          Some go by the maxim that if a lie is repeated often enough, it is eventually believed, so I would argue that it is vital to challenge the likes of Farron or anyone else, whether from the left or the right, who makes an assertion that is without hard facts to back it up.

          The message on the side of the bus however, and by complete contrast, was an illustration of what we could spend our own money on were we out of the EU, and is on far safer ground.


  2. Lifelogic
    March 7, 2017

    Indeed more takes place on line. I often see people in shop looking at books or other items in a shop then ordering on line (on their phones) while actually in the shop.

    Shops become just free places to view the items before ordering many will just go out of business or have to reinvent themselves as cafe’s, restaurants or something.

    On productivity why does Hammond say he want “higher productivity” yet in his actions does so very much to harm productivity at every turn? As an Oxford PPE man one would expect him to have no grasp of economics. It is reported that he is worth nearly £10 million so one assumes he is not quite as daft as he seems to be.

    Surely he (and even enforced gender reporting May) can see that improved productivity will come from lower taxes, simpler taxes, far less red tape, cheap energy, far less government intervention, relaxed planning, relaxed building controls, easy hire and fire, no quarterly HMRC reporting, and above all freedom and classical liberty ………

    We need fewer parasitic jobs and more productive ones. We need the opposite of the May Hammond agenda so far.

  3. Jack snell
    March 7, 2017

    As soon as we leave the EU there will be much less interest in buying online from the remaining EU countries meaning more retail business for the shops at home but with the expected further devaluation of the pound many items, especially luxury goods both imported and domestic, will be much more expensive. However we can also expect essential items like food and clothing etc to remain relatively the same. To balance all of this foreign holidays to european destinations will become increasingly a thing of the past…so it’s swings and roundabouts..

    1. Anonymous
      March 7, 2017

      Much of the growth in retail sales (national debt !) is to do with house price rises. Home owners feeling good about their spending power – or rentiers/boomerangers having lost hope of ever buying a house so splurging on fripperies instead.

      Nothing will financially empower the young more than a correction in house prices.

      A (say) 30% drop in house prices/rents will offset any currency devaluation and most householders could weather it.

      Back to real money

      Back to real house prices

      1. alan jutson
        March 7, 2017


        Just wait until the bank rate goes back up to sensible historic levels, then you will see house price reductions as thousands of people fall behind with their mortgage repayments, and house are repossessed.

  4. Andy Marlot
    March 7, 2017

    How much of the growth is actually under reported inflation I wonder?

  5. Lifelogic
    March 7, 2017

    I see that the “I love the EU”, ex(?) remainer William Hague now wants an early election to improve the tiny majority that Cameron “achieved”. “Achieved “due to his lefty, high tax, big government & essentially socialist, pro EU agenda. Indeed a majority he only really obtained as the last thing the English wanted was a Miliband dog wagged by a Nicola Sturgeon tail. Still I won my largish bet him getting the majority at about 4:1 so I cannot complain too much.

    I think little Willy Hague is right for once, we will struggle to get out in two years time with an election looming & such a tiny majority. Especially led by dithering, lefty, ex(?) remainer dopes like May and Hammond and their anti business & growth agenda.

    At least we would then finally be rid of Ken Clark if nothing else hopefully Soubry and Osborne and a few more too. But has Cameron prevented even this, with his misguided fixed term legislation in his desperation for power?

    1. alan jutson
      March 7, 2017


      Let us get out of the EU first, before any election.

      1. Denis Cooper
        March 8, 2017

        Absolutely, Hague is setting a trap and it needs to be avoided. Fortunately from all reports May is going to ignore him and concentrate on getting the best deal from the EU negotiations rather than on increasing her majority.

      2. Lifelogic
        March 8, 2017

        Can we get out with this small majority and (ex?) remainers at nos 10 and 11?

  6. rose
    March 7, 2017

    We have been hearing on the BBC and Sky about inflation – due to Brexit of course. But we haven’t heard about QE.

    1. Lifelogic
      March 7, 2017

      Indeed inflation is caused by devaluation of the pound by deliberate government policy.

  7. bigneil
    March 7, 2017

    Of course retail sales are growing. It is because the population is. Out of control.

  8. Budgets Man
    March 7, 2017

    Well people did spend much on credit cards over the Christmas /New Year period especially since such a payment method is favoured when buying on the increasing online market. They will have started repaying now and awaiting the budget. The Chancellor creating uncertainty three times in a 12 month period by having three budgets is ill-conceived.Oh and yet another one scheduled in the Autumn in 7 to 8 months time when he says he will stop mucking about with budgets and work more smartly. Reason to be cheerful!

  9. Witch Amendments
    March 7, 2017

    The Lords teasing and torturing the British people hour by hour with unelected theoretical nuances on Article 50 would have meant they would be heading for the ducking stool in years when their ancestry ruled the roost. Apart from their attitude and stupid attire they have moved on since then.
    Some say we should start an online Petition to Parliament for a return of the ducking stool for dealing with people of good breeding and slack brain cells.

    1. Denis Cooper
      March 8, 2017

      The Lords have just sent a message to Berlin and Paris:

      “We are on your side. You can rely on us to stab the British government in the back at every opportunity during the exit negotiations.”

      Once the present Bill has received Royal Assent and the Article 50 notice has gone in the government should introduce another short bill, one to reduce the period for which the Lords are permitted to delay a Bill from thirteen months, preferably to just one month as is already the case for Money Bills, but maybe as a compromise to a more generous three months.

      Lord Howard had something relevant to say yesterday, at Column 1284:

      “I ask your Lordships to consider that situation. The Government will have agreed the terms on which they are going to leave the European Union. The House of Commons will have approved those terms but this House will have rejected them and we will have to hang around for a year until the Parliament Act can be used to ensure that the House of Commons gets its way. That was suggested by my noble friend Lord Hailsham … The notion that the nation should stand around for a year waiting for the Parliament Act to be invoked for the House of Commons to get its way illustrates how unnecessary this amendment and proposed new clause are.”

      1. rose
        March 8, 2017

        The hereditaries would never have behaved like this. The majorities against HMG are round about 100 and there are 100 boot-faced, failed Liberal councillors and ex MPs in there now, trying to compensate for the absence of a respectable number of Liberal MPs in the H of C.

        What folly to appease Nick Clegg with quite so many appointments and if only we could undo the constitutional vandalsim of the Blair years. I really don’t see how an elected House would answer, as so many people prescribe, because it would then come into genuine conflict and competition with the lower House.

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