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Thursday, 22 August, 2002, 08:41 GMT 09:41 UK
High Street spending slows
Shoppers
Is Britain's High Street boom coming to an end?
Spending in the UK's shops has grown at its slowest rate for 18 months.

Sales had been expected to make more of a recovery in July.


We expect to see the slowdown continuing

George Buckley, Deutsche Bank
But figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) showed that retail sales were 0.3% higher in July than in June.

They were 4.5% higher than they were a year before.

That rate of increase is the slowest since January 2001, when sales increased by 3.9%.

And the three-monthly figures grew at their slowest rate for two years.

The data will add to fears that the UK High Street boom, credited with saving the economy from the worst effects of last year's economic downturn, could be reaching an end.

If true, the effects of the slowdown would be felt throughout the economy.

Strong property market

George Buckley at Deutsche Bank said: "This does indicate to us that the slowdown in consumer spending is genuine.

"This is not just due to holiday effects which would have depressed June numbers, not July.

"We expect to see the slowdown continuing," he added.

Jeremy Batstone at NatWest Stockbrokers said: "Certainly, if consumer spending does begin to drop, then the authorities will have to take note."

He said spending had been buoyed to some extent by the strong property market.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
The BBC's Russel Hayes
"Consumers are starting to become more cautious"
Will the UK economy feel the impact of the US slowdown?

Economic indicators

Analysis

UK rate decisions
See also:

13 Aug 02 | Business
03 Jul 02 | Business
03 Jul 02 | Business
03 Jul 02 | Business
20 Jun 02 | Business
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