18 January 2001, 12:41  UK December retail sales-OVERVIEW and SNAPSHOTS reaction

--UK Dec retail sales volume up 0.1% on month; up 4.4% on yr
--UK Oct-Dec retail sales volume up 1.3% on qtr; up 4.4% on yr
--UK Dec retail sales growth much weaker than expected
--UK Dec retail sales value 22.3% on month; up 5.3% on yr
--UK Oct-Dec retail sales value up 4.5% on year
--UK Nov monthly retail sales volume rev to +0.6% from +0.7%
--UK Dec retail sales deflator -0.6% on year vs. -0.3 in Nov
--UK Dec mainly foodstore sales up 0.8% on mo, up 1.1% on year
--UK Dec mainly non-foodstore sales dn 0.1% on mo, +7.9% on year
--ONS: UK Dec underlying sales growth similar to much of 2000
--ONS: UK Dec yrly sales growth "strong" given millennium effect
--UK Dec clothing, footwear sales -1.3% on month, +5.3% on yr
--UK Dec household goods sales +0.9% on month, +13.2% on yr
By BridgeNews
London--Jan. 17--U.K. retail sales volumes grew a miserly 0.1% on the month and 4.4% on the year in December, falling well short of expectations for growth of around 0.4% on the month, according to figures published Thursday by the Office for National Statistics. Seasonally-adjusted sales volumes had grown a revised 0.6% on the month in November. Despite the disappointing outturn, which will reinforce the case for interest rate cuts, the ONS said underlying growth was still much the same as it had been for most of 2000.
* * * The monthly rate was the weakest since April 2000 and suggests the consumer sector is, if not cooling, then certainly in little danger of running away.
Foodstores reported healthy growth of 0.8% on the month and 1.1% on the year but non-foodstores volume sales actually fell 0.1% on the month and rose 7.9% on the year.
Among the weakest sectors was clothing and footwear, which dropped 1.3% on the month and rose 5.3% on the year. Non-specialized stores also reported a drop in monthly sales volumes.
The strongest sector within the non-foodstore category was household goods, where sales rose a monthly 0.9% and an annual 13.2%. The other stores category also recorded a strong improvement.
The most disappointing performance of all came from non-store retailing and repair, which includes internet shopping sites. Sales volumes plummeted 3.8% on the month and 3.9% on the year.
The sales deflator, which measures goods price inflation, fell 0.6% on the year, compared with a fall of 0.3% in November.
The three-monthly rate of sales volume growth, which smoothes out month-to-month volatility, slowed to 1.3% on the previous 3 months and 4.4% on the same period a year earlier. In the 3 months to the end of November, the 3-monthly rate was 1.5% and the annual rate 4.5%. Retail sales growth in the fourth quarter, the latest 3 months, was the same as in the third quarter.
Sales values grew 22.3% on the month and 5.3% on the year. December was a 5-week trading period, explaining some of the sharp jump. The value of sales through the till was estimated at around 26.940 billion sterling.

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