Retail sales volume and value increase, March 2012

Retail Sales, March 2012: ONS

  • Value of retail sales in March 2012 increased by 5.7 per cent when compared with March 2011 and by 1.8 per cent compared with February 2012
  • Sales volumes in March 2012 increased by 3.3 per cent when compared with March 2011 and by 1.8 per cent compared with February 2012
  • Internet sales values (non-seasonally adjusted) in March 2012 increased by 15.2 per cent compared with March 2011. Internet sales are now estimated to account for 8.5 per cent of all retail sales values excluding automotive fuel.
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Construction output

Construction output – Eurostat

  • In the construction sector, seasonally adjusted production fell by 7.1% in the euro area (EA17) and by 3.7% in the EU27 in February 2012, compared with the previous month.
  • In January, production decreased by 0.5% and 3.9% respectively. Compared with February 2011, output in February 2012 dropped by 12.9% in the euro area and by 9.4% in the EU27.
  • 5.7% increase in the United Kingdom

Unemployment falls, claimant count rises

Labour Market Statistics, April 2012 – covering December 2011 to February 2012: ONS

  • The unemployment rate was 8.3 per cent of the economically active population, down 0.1 on the quarter. There were 2.65 million unemployed people, down 35,000 on the quarter. This is the first quarterly fall in unemployment since the three months to May 2011.
  • The claimant count in March 2012 was 1.61 million, up 3,600 on the previous month and up 145,200 on a year earlier.
  • The employment rate for those aged from 16 to 64 was 70.4 per cent, up 0.1 on the quarter. There were 29.17 million people in employment aged 16 and over, up 53,000 on the quarter.
  • The inactivity rate for those aged from 16 to 64 was 23.1 per cent, down 0.1 on the quarter. There were 9.27 million economically inactive people aged from 16 to 64, down 25,000 on the quarter.

UK Trade: February 2012

UK EU Trade: February 2012 – HMRC

  •  UK’s EU exports have increased by £0.2 billion (1.8 per cent) compared to January 2012, to £13.1 billion. Compared to February 2011 exports have increased by £1.0 billion (8.1 per cent).
  • UK’s EU imports have increased by £0.4 billion (2.3 per cent) compared to January 2012, to £16.8 billion. Compared to February 2011 imports have increased by £0.8 billion (5.1 per cent).

External Trade Statistics, February 2012 – ONS

  • The UK’s deficit on seasonally adjusted trade in goods and services was £3.4 billion in February, compared with the deficit of £2.5 billion in January.
  • The deficit on seasonally adjusted trade in goods was £8.8 billion in February, compared with the deficit of £7.9 billion in January.
  • The surplus on seasonally adjusted trade in services was estimated at £5.4 billion in February, unchanged compared with January.
  • The deficit on trade in goods with EU countries was £3.8 billion in February, compared with the deficit of £4.2 billion in January.
  • The deficit on trade in goods with non-EU countries was £5.0 billion in February, compared with the deficit of £3.7 billion in January.

 

Inflation, March 2012

Inflation, March 2012 – ONS

  • CPI annual inflation stands at 3.5 per cent in March 2012, up from 3.4 per cent in February.
  • RPI annual inflation stands at 3.6 per cent in March, down from 3.7 per cent in February.

Euro & EU inflation – Eurostat

  • Euro area annual inflation was 2.7% in March 2012, unchanged compared with February. A year earlier the rate was 2.7%. Monthly inflation was 1.3% in March 2012.
  • EU annual inflation was 2.9% in March 2012, unchanged compared with February. A year earlier the rate was 3.1%. Monthly inflation was 1.1% in March 2012.

Clusters of bookies and strip clubs hit economic growth

LGA survey

  • According to most council officers surveyed, clusters of strip clubs and betting shops  are hitting the economic growth of local high streets
  • 76 per cent of council officers believe that strip clubs affect the vibrancy of high streets
  • 69 per cent felt the same about bookies
  • 45 per cent believe fast food takeaways impacted on economic growth

Not sure that I agree with the way this survey is being reported in much of the media – clusters of anything can affect shopping areas.  A ‘cluster’ of funeral directors wouldn’t do much for vibrancy but I’m not sure I would criticise any particular type of retailer more than another. My experience is that retailers and daytime shoppers miss post offices and ‘traditional British’ butchers more than they object to clubs and bookies. And ‘traditional’ restuarants (including Indian restaurants) are concerned about the impact of franchise take-aways more than fast-food outlets in general.

I’m not too sure whether I share the apparently common dislike for bookies either. I don’t bet any more but aren’t bookies a community resource for some sections of the community?

And I’ve never seen a cluster of strip clubs either – but maybe I lead a sheltered life.