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Cold Weather Heats Up UK Clothing Sales

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Sales of winter garments in the United Kingdom (UK) increased significantly in November as cold weather fired up demand, according to data from London’s Office for National Statistics (ONS).

Total sales from October to mid December of this year (2013) increased by 0.3%, and by 2 percent over the same period last year, the ONS reported.

UK’s warmer than usual weather in October prompted a 3.4% decline in clothing sales.  But a cold spell in November caused an upturn in clothing sales of 3.8% from October.

Sales increases and declines in the UK during this period were random, depending on category, with food sales up 0.2%, and department store sales down 3.1%.

The falloff in department store sales, said the ONS, is due in part to retailers increasing internet marketing efforts.  An increase in online sales of 9.9% in October over the previous year reflects the growing trend of Internet buying, which now amounts to 11.9% of retail sales.

Some key economic indicators, however, point to a UK recovery, according to Bank of England Governor, Mark Carney.

The UK economy posted an 0.8% increase in the third quarter this year and analysts forecast ongoing growth for the current quarter.

Adding to the brighter economic outlook are an increase in consumer spending, slower inflation and a four-and-a-half year low in unemployment rates.

“Retail sales were in line with expectations today and revealed a decent monthly increase,” said David Tinsley, an economist at BNP Paribas SA in London, quoted in a report published on Bloomberg.com.

But the pace of overall UK retail sales dropped somewhat in the fourth quarter of this year, perhaps reflecting the economy pausing to catch its breath, rather than a downtrend, according to Tinsley.


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