Retail sales rise 1.5% in September

Clothing and footwear were the big winners last month.
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Like-for-like UK retail sales values rose 1.5 per cent in September. 

Last year, sales were up just 0.3 per cent year-on-year in September. 

On a total basis, sales were up 3.4 per cent, against a 2.5 per cent rise in September 2011. 

Overall, the sales were driven by clothing and footwear, which saw its best growth since last Christmas.

Stephen Robertson, Director General, British Retail Consortium, said: "After a poor summer for sales, this is a return to growth rates we've come to regard as relatively acceptable in these relentlessly tough times. The improvement has come from the weather and a change in the mindset of some customers. 

"This September's colder conditions contrast sharply with the heatwave a year ago, giving clothing and footwear sales a major boost as shoppers stock up early on coats, boots and knitwear. 

"Children's clothes and shoes did particularly well in September, partly because many people left back-to-school buying later this year as a result of competition for their time in August.

He added: "Difficult has become the new norm. Customers are still cautious but less fearful than they were. The squeeze on disposable incomes has eased for some and, along with lots of discounts, left them feeling it's time to stop postponing spending. Retailers will be hoping this modest boost strengthens as Christmas approaches."

David McCorquodale, Head of Retail, KPMG, added: "After a turbulent year on the UK High Street, September's sales figures bring much needed relief for retailers. The news that like-for-like sales rebounded to achieve the highest increase seen in 2012 may give many renewed heart as they enter the most important trading period of the year."

Joanne Denney-Finch, Chief Executive for IGD, Food & Drink, believes another sales boost will come during Halloween later this month.

"Shoppers have been on an 'optimism rollercoaster' this year, feeling better about the future in the summer, but becoming more cautious as the nights draw in," she said. 

"Food companies will be hoping for milder weather through the rest of autumn and for themed events, such as Halloween, to help boost sales."

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