Retail sales slump 1.6pc as shoppers cut back spending

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Good morning.

There’s more dire economic data this morning, as retail sales dropped at the fastest pace in eight months in August.

The quantity of goods sold in-store and online fell 1.6pc from July, according to the ONS. That fall was three times bigger than forecast.

Sales declined across all categories – the first time this has happened since July 2021, when the reopening of hospitality venues following Covid restrictions drove punters to restaurants and bars.

The figures are the latest sign of how soaring inflation and a big squeeze on living standards is hitting consumers. It also highlights the challenge facing retailers heading into the key Christmas trading period.

5 things to start your day 

1) Why Waitrose’s claim to have held down prices doesn’t add up  Prices for everyday staples have gone up by more than 30pc in some cases  

2) British Airways cancels one in seven flights during Queen Elizabeth II’s funeral  100 flights axed to keep skies clear as Heathrow restricts arrivals and departures on Monday

3) We don’t know how much Liz Truss’s energy bills freeze will cost, admits Treasury  PM’s fiscal statement, due next week, is set to reverse tax rises but costings for policies to ease bills will only cover first few months

4) Louis Vuitton owner tells staff to take the stairs and turns down store thermostats  Even French luxury retailer is cutting back in the face of skyrocketing energy costs

5) Billionaire founder of Patagonia gives the outdoors brand away  Company will split between two organisations and pay dividends to ‘protect the planet’

What happened overnight 

Asian markets were weaker this morning as investors braced for a US rate hike next week amid growing concerns of a global recession following warnings from the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund.

MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan was down 0.3pc on Friday, after US stocks ended the previous session with mild losses. The index is down 4.1pc so far this month.

Australian shares were down 0.9pc on Friday, while Japan’s Nikkei stock index slipped 1.2pc.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index was down 1.1pc while China’s CSI300 Index was 0.9pc lower.

Coming up today

  • Economics: Inflation (EU), retail sales (UK, US, China), industrial production (China), Michigan consumer sentiment index (US)
  • Corporate: No major scheduled updates

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