New data released from the British Retail Consortium and Springboard has shown a rise in footfall at the country’s shopping locations. We answer five questions on this good news for the economy.
How much has footfall at shopping locations increased?
According to the data released last week, footfall at the country’s shopping hotspots is up 0.8 per cent in July, compared to year earlier. This is acceleration on the 0.1pc increase in June.
The increase in retail footfall was driven by sharp growth in London, the west Midlands, Northern Ireland, and Wales, with other parts of the country in decline.
Did the figures reveal any further other good news for the economy?
Yes. The amount of empty shops in country has also fallen from a record 11.9 per cent in April to 11.1 per cent in July.
What about online sales?
Surprisingly, online sales have actually slowed. They fell by 2 per cent in July compared to June, according to the IMRG Capgemini sales index.
However, year-on-year sales rose 9pc, but this is still the slowest growth since January 2010.
What have the experts said?
The Confederation of British Industry (CBI) has increased its forecast growth for 2014, from 2 per cent to 2.3 per cent.
John Cridland, director-general of the CBI, speaking to The Telegraph said: “The economy has started to gain momentum and confidence is picking up, but it’s still early days.
“We need to see a full-blown rebalancing of our economy, with stronger business investment and trade before we can call a sustainable recovery. We hope that will begin to emerge next year, as the eurozone starts growing again.”
Is there any indication what the Office for National Statistics second quarter growth statistics, due later in the week, might reveal?
Investors are positive this week and think the UK economy could be boosted further after they are released.
Some economists even expect the Office for National Statistics to upgrade its estimate of Q2 growth from 0.6 per cent to 0.7 per cent.